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India becomes numero uno of ByteDance-owned TikTok

TikTok also seeks to launch music streaming app in India next month.

Leveraging online influencers has been a key part of Shein's marketing. Image credit: Unsplash

In little less than two years, India has become the largest contributor to Chinese social video app TikTok’s 1.5 billion downloads globally. According to a report by a mobile intelligence firm Sensor Tower, Indians downloaded TikTok 466.8 million times, contributing one-third to its total download.

The report said, in 2019 alone, TikTok realized 614 million downloads, 6% more compared to last year. This year alone, Indians downloaded this short-video app 277.6 million times which is a whopping 45% of its total global installs this year. Surprisingly, China is trailing India with 45.5 million downloads or 7.4% of the whole, and the US finishes off the top three with 37.6 million downloads, or about 6%.

The ByteDance-owned platform also picked itself up from last year’s fourth spot in the most downloaded non-gaming app category to the third spot this year with 614 million downloads after WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger at 707.4 million and 636.2 million downloads, respectively.

The incessant rise of TikTok in India continues with it breaching the 200 million user base making it the most downloaded app in India. Currently in India, YouTube has 265 million users which is just ahead of TikTok.

Most of this increase in usage and app downloads can be attributed to the fact that half of India’s 1.3 billion population is under the age of 25 who have access to dirt cheap data offered by Reliance Jio, which has enabled deeper internet penetration even in India’s hinterlands.

Incidentally, from 2012 to 2018, the time spent by Indians on watching online videos grew exponentially from an average of two minutes per day to 52 minutes a day, according to a report released by media agency Zenith.

TikTok’s market share in India has grown by 13% during January 2018 (when TikTok launched in India) to August 2019 period, ahead of social media majors like Facebook and Twitter, says a report by Delhi based data intelligence and management platform Kalagato. The report further reveals that Facebook and Twitter lost over 40% of their market share in India during this period. TikTok India amassed a profit of USD 479,000 in the first year of operations itself.

In its 2.0 avatar, TikTok has now started putting links of e-commerce platforms such as Snapdeal, ClubFactory, among others in between two videos to monetize from its user base using social e-commerce. Currently it enables select users to add links of e-commerce sites to their profile biography. It also supports 15 Indian languages on its platform.

TikTok is keen to ace its game on all fronts. According to the Financial Times  ByteDance is in talks with the big three names in the music world—Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music—to launch its new music subscription service which would be launched next month in less competitive markets like India, Indonesia, and Brazil before heading on to a mature market like the US.