One of the world’s fastest growing apps, Douyin, known as Tik Tok outside of China, announced on Tuesday that it has hit 500 million monthly active users worldwide.
This comes just a month after the short video platform, popular among Chinese millennials, announced on its Weibo channel that it has reached 300 million monthly active users (MAU) within China. Douyin also operates in countries such as South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan in a version called Tik Tok.
The app, founded and owned by Beijing-based technology company Bytedance, has experienced rapid growth since its launch in 2016. Bytedance also owns Jinri Toutiao, which is China’s largest news aggregation site. Its overseas version, Tik Tok, was the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide in the first half of this year.
Douyin, or Tik Tok, allows for users to view or quickly produce videos up to 15 seconds long, using animations or stickers as effects. The app’s popularity in China was driven by a feature that lets users easily produce short lip-synced music videos, an idea started by its predecessor musical.ly, which Bytedance acquired by in November last year .
In just a short two years, Douyin’s 500 million MAUs globally tower over the 191 million MAUs achieved by Snapchat in seven years, as reported in the US firm’s Q1 2018 report. It is still far behind WeChat’s and Instagram’s one billion MAUs respectively, but it’s also not been around that long. Facebook, the social networking titan, sits at the top of the global ranks at 2.2 billion MAUs at the end of March this year.
Douyin, or Tik Tok’s rise to popularity overseas did hit some snags. Tik Tok was briefly banned in Indonesia on July 3 by authorities for allegedly containing blasphemous and pornographic content, although the ban was overturned days later. It was served a suspension on its commercial operations by Chinese authorities earlier this month for ads that insulted a war hero, and shut down more than 33,000 users in a clean-up operation a few days ago.