TikTok’s ByteDance seems to be putting eggs in too many baskets to protect itself from any market risk or changing trends. After the massive success of TikTok, especially in India, the company is reportedly looking to launch new apps and expand into ecommerce, games and other areas.
With this, the company is trying to compete against tech giants globally. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the Beijing-based company has launched a financial-services app and has acquired game developers in China, among other moves.
“As for TikTok, advertising executives have speculated that ByteDance could introduce a subscription service, with viewers paying for more access or additional content from preferred creators,” it says.
The company is reportedly also in talks with big music labels to enter the online music streaming space. The move is expected to drive the market for music streaming in India. The company is in talks with Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music for global licensing deals to include their songs to its new music subscription service.
The app will have on-demand music along with a library of short video clips for listeners to search through and sync to songs as they listen.
In India, TikTok will be competing with the likes of Spotify, JioSaavn and Gaana. The idea is to launch it in emerging markets including India, Indonesia and Brazil initially, before entering the United States.
TikTok had earlier come under the scanner for allegedly promoting the sharing of pornography and obscenity. The app was temporarily banned by the Madras High Court. The company then introduced bite-sized online learning content across India to gain back its popularity. More than 10 Mn pieces of content were created and shared using the #EduTok hashtag within a short span of time.
TikTok now also reportedly allows some users to add links to ecommerce sites to their profile biography. The platform also offers them the ability to easily send their viewers to shopping websites. The company said the move is part of its experimentation to improve the app experience for users
“We are always experimenting with new ways to improve the app experience for our users. Ultimately, we are focused on ways to inspire creativity, bring joy, and add value for our community,” a spokesperson of ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok had said.
India has been leading the charts ever since it was launched in September 2017, in terms of the number of installs, the reasons being the increased internet penetration driven by low-priced data offered by Jio and the short-video format liked by tier 2 and tier 3 cities. According to Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report, global internet users touched 3.8Bn, which is more than half of the world’s population. Indians spent 5.5 Bn hours on TikTok in 2019, a startling increase from the 900 Mn hours spent in 2018. This is likely to go up if it adds ecommerce and gaming features.
The number of monthly active users (MAUs) on TikTok increased by 90% to 81 Mn as of December 2019, as compared to the same period in the previous year, according to data of Android users assessed by mobile and data analytics firm App Annie.
The firm also reported that TikTok’s India numbers have outstripped its global growth numbers, where time spent on the app grew over two times, while MAUs went 70% to 717 Mn, with a large majority in China.