No matter if you like it or not, more and more global netizens are keen to watch 15-second videos of people dancing, singing, or just doing other goofy stuff on China’s popular short video platform Douyin, aka Tik Tok.
The platform, owned by Bytedance, announced on July 16 that it has 500 million monthly active users around the world two years after its initial launch, according to their official account on Jinri Toutiao. Apart from Chinese domestic users, others mainly are in Asian countries like Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Vietnam. The platform operates official Instagram accounts in these countries and will re-post highlights of videos from its users.
This is the first time that the platform has published its progress international. On June 12, Douyin announced on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, that its domestic monthly active users reached 300 million.
To put the data into perspective, Nasdaq-listed, nine-year-old Weibo had 411 million monthly active users by March and China’s mega social network WeChat hit 1 billion worldwide users by the similar time period. In the overseas market, Instagram reached 813 million monthly active users as of April and Snapchat 225 million.
Douyin has seen a rapid growth since its initial launch in September 2016. It resembles musical.ly and Flipagram, two similar short videos platforms that predate Douyin, and were popular among young people overseas. These two apps were acquired by ByteDance in 2017.
Users can shoot and edit videos with various types of filters and special effects the app provides and add music, usually hit songs, to them, although it’s not clear whether the company has been authorized to use the music.
These fancy user statistics were announced after Douyin fell afoul of regulators. On July 3, the Indonesian government accused Douyin of having a bad influence on the nation’s young people and blocked the platform in the country, although the ban was lifted a week later after the platform agreed to clear all its negative content. Similar things had happened in China too. On July 1, Douyin suspended all ads on its domestic platform after disrespectful ad content about a Chinese war hero was reported by its users.
There were rumors that Bytedance will spin off Douyin and seek independent fundraising. The rumor also said that Douyin could be valued at $8 billion to $10 billion. However, Bytedance denied the information.