TikTok has passed 1bn downloads

TikTok, the short video app owned by ByteDance, has passed 1bn downloads, turning the Chinese newcomer into a rival to Instagram and Facebook. Sensor Tower, which tracks apps, said TikTok was downloaded 663 million times last year from Apple’s App Store and Google Play. That was behind Facebook’s 771 million downloads but ahead of Instagram’s 444 million. TikTok’s number includes an estimated 136.3 million App Store downloads in China, where the US social media platforms are blocked. The app’s super-short videos, of everything from make-up and dancing to basketball, often set to music, quickly went viral in China before catching on elsewhere… ByteDance, which also owns news aggregator app Toutiao, has been rapidly recruiting staff, including in the US, and rivals estimate it has 50,000 employees. ByteDance does not disclose staff numbers, but that figure would put it comfortably ahead of Facebook’s 35,587 and Tencent’s 48,864 at the end of June. The Beijing-based group is backed by SoftBank but has no funding from Alibaba and Tencent. At its last round it was valued at $75 billion. Its snappy videos are hugely addictive, attributed by some to its clever algorithm. But others say its selling point is its mainly user-generatedcontent.
Louise Lucas