TikTok’s war at sea

“I’m happy to offload TikTok, but it makes me feel old. Anna, who just turned 32, lamented that she was puzzled by the enthusiasm her fellow girls had shown about TikTok: “She shares some links to TikTok on Facebook every day, and to be honest, I don’t know where the fun is of those videos. “

“Maybe it’s because of youth.” In the face of this doubt, she tried to give herself an answer. Despite her confusion, Anna had to admit the fact that TikTok was on fire abroad.

As of April 29, the total number of downloads to the Global App Store and Google Play, as of April 29, has been exceeded, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence. In the first quarter of 2020 alone, 315 million downloads were made, surpassing those of overseas social giants such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, and the world’s most downloaded mobile app of the same period.

TikTok's war at sea

In May, just after that, the number scored another 100 million, and it’s not hard to see that TikTok’s growth momentum is still growing fast, with more and more new users becoming more curious about this overseas rookie.

In addition to the continued surge in downloads, TikTok’s user activity is also high.

According to App Annie, a mobile app data analytics agency, TikTok’s global monthly active user stake has reached 800 million so far, just over three years away from the launch of The Sound. To achieve this, YouTube took six years, Instagram for seven years and Facebook for 12 years.

The report also notes that the average user turns on TikTok eight times a day for a total of 52 minutes, compared with 80 minutes for 4-15 year olds, a similar amount to 85 minutes on YouTube, which has been in the same field of deep-working video for years.

In addition, TikTok has been soaring, since the launch soon has been firmly occupying the top three overseas app store social list, the trend of no one can beat.

TikTok’s ambition to conquer the global battlefield is evident in the long but fast-growing fortunes of TikTok’s overseas expedition.

Mr Zhang has never hidden his global ambitions: “I’m pretty sure I’m running a global company. To do this, he also customized himself with a hovering globe in the office.

“China’s Internet population accounts for only one-fifth of the world’s Internet population, and if you don’t allocate resources globally and pursue scale-up products, one-fifth simply can’t compete with four-fifths of the products, so going out to sea is inevitable.” “

Back in August 2015, today’s headline went online with the overseas version of TopBuzz, which has entered the U.S. and Brazil, and invested in DailyHunt and BABE, the largest content platforms in India and Indonesia, in an attempt to replicate its “algorithmic myths” overseas.

This was followed by the overseas version of Watermelon Video’s TopBuzz Video and The volcano’s Vigo Video, as well as the short video app Helo for the local Indian market, and TikTok’s on the road.

This series of punches marks the official start of Byte Dance’s massive overseas expansion. But on the long journey, the story of the fine soldier sings out of the division is also happening from time to time.

TopBuzz, which failed to repeat the myth, has been tepid and marginalized since ending its huge subsidies, eventually closing its overseas operations this month and revealing that it has been looking for potential buyers to take over since June last year. Ten days later, Vigo Video went to the same fate, announcing that it would cease operations in india on October 31this.

Fortunately, TikTok didn’t disappoint Zhang.

On March 12th, on the 8th anniversary of Byte Dance, in an internal letter to the entire staff, Mr. Zhang announced that he would personally head the company, taking charge of ByteDance’s overseas operations, and focus on capturing overseas markets. This change in organizational structure is inseparable from The good results TikTok has achieved on overseas battlefields.

For this achievement, Zhang Yiming should be more satisfied, but it is not very satisfied. Because, in his “grandson’s military method”, the pursuit of victory is the winning magic weapon to compete for overseas markets.

The new and old opponent’s round-up intercept

TikTok began to appear frequently in Zuckerberg’s dictionary.

“It’s the first global hit made by a Chinese tech giant. Mr Zuckerberg finally admitted at an internal meeting that TikTok was Facebook’s first Chinese rival in the global market.

But it’s not the first fight between the two, starting with a short video social app called musical.ly.

Musical.ly was developed by a Start-Up in Shanghai and launched in July 2014 in China and the United States. In just one year, it has topped the List of Apple App Stores in the U.S., and is popular with young people in North America.

In response to the challenge of Snapchat, the social software, which is also dominated by users, Facebook is trying to counter its acquisition of Music.ly. To that end, Zuckerberg worked for a year and two months. Zuckerberg also regularly interacted with his CEO Yang Luyu on Music.ly, according to investors close to Music.ly.

Unsurprisingly, the two sides were rushed by TikTok in the course of the negotiations.

On November 10, 2017, Zhang Yiming brought Music.ly to its next for up to $1 billion, making it the largest acquisition in ByteDance’s history. At that time, musical.ly’s global daily life was over 20 million, and north American daily life was as high as 6 million, providing a solid user base for TikTok’s overseas expansion.

After gaining a foothold, TikTok began to confront Facebook on the global battlefield.


“TikTok and Snapchat’s Stories are similar because they’re both vertical-screen videos, and they’re a bit similar to Instagram’s discovery bar because they all use algorithms to recommend content for users. “

Based on this recognition, Zuckerberg sent out the first general to fight TikTok, Lasso. In November 2018, Lasso, a short video app similar to ThetikTok, went live in the U.S. and moved to Mexico a year later.

However, the highly-anticipated Lasso’s ability to fight is not as good as it should be. A year after it went live, Lasso had just 425,000 downloads, compared with 640 million for TikTok, topping the list of social apps in the U.S., while Lasso ranked 150th on the list.

Immediately after, the second-ranked Reels went out to face off.

In November 2019, Instagram launched a new feature in Brazil that is very close to TikTok – where users can make a 15-second video and share it in Instagram’s most famous feature, Stories or Discovery.

Unlike Lasso, Reels can quickly grow up to compete with TikTok by promoting its own streaming with Instagram’s vast user base, while Lasso starts almost from scratch.

For the two generals, Zuckerberg also has a tactical system dedicated to The TikTok.

“First of all, we have to get into the country that is not yet completely occupied by TikTok, and then confront TikTok head-on in the country they already occupy.” “

So lasso entered Mexico, as did Reels cut in from Brazil.

And judging by the recent expansion routes of both , with Lasso about to enter Asian markets such as India and Indonesia , and Reels taking over the two main European markets in Germany and France , Mr Zuckerberg’s back-and-forth tactics seem to be working , and while Lasso and Reels have not yet stirred up much of a wave , it is not entirely impossible to grow up and copy Tik Tok from multiple parties .

In addition to the siege of Facebook’s fiercest enemy, TikTok is facing a barrage of fast-track old enemies, and it’s more aggressive than Facebook’s offensive.

Quickhand chose to replicate Tiktok directly, launching the short video app Zynn in early May, and quickly captured the North American market with crazy money-throwing strategies such as sign-up cashback, pull new rebates, watch videos and money-for-money: just 18 days after taking the shelves, Zynn overtook TikTok on the App Store to become the double-header of the App Store and Entertainment.

Ten days later, however, Zynn was suddenly taken off the app store by Google. Judging by the quick-handed response, the reason for Zynn’s death is likely to be related to “content plagiarism”, which also confirms from the side that Zynn, who has only been out of the country for a month, has a long way to go in creating platform content.

In addition, it should not be overlooked that other players from overseas have also come on the pitch.

Google has hatched the new Tangi, and YouTube plans to launch short video features of Shorts by the end of the year, which overseas media say will be “the most thoughtful effort by Silicon Valley technology companies to curb the rise of TikTok”.

In any case, TikTok has opened the door to Zhang’s dream of globalization, and to win a seat on this world table, it will be up to TikTok to highlight the siege in this foggy forest.

Highlighting the re-enactment

“Globalization is like a train having to change tracks at high speeds, but we can’t stop, we have to go forward at the same time. “

At the beginning of ByteDance’s globalization, Zhang Yiming was already well aware of the difficulties and prepared for it. The ban and boycott in India was the first hurdle tikTok faced when it went out to sea.

Since its launch, India has been TikTok’s largest overseas market: 611m downloads, or 30.3 per cent of the world’s total, and more than 120m monthly active users, equivalent to one in eight active users, are from India.

A year ago, however, India’s Madras High Court ordered a ban on the TikTok app, saying it provided harmful and inappropriate content dissemination. Although the ban was lifted a week later, the damage to TikTok has been irreparable , losing nearly 1 million new users and $500,000 a day in financial losses.

A year later, the same thing happened again, but this time it was India’s vast majority of users.

A Youtuber Carry Minati, who has 18.8 million followers, launched a “no to TikTok” campaign, and countless netizens flocked to the Google store to give TikTok a wild review, sending TikTok’s rating down from 4.6 to 1.2. And user boycotts are also a true reflection of The downloads of TikTok, which fell by 34% in April and 28% in India’s major app stores in April and May.

In addition, due to the recent tensionbetween China-India relations, an app called “RemoveChina Apps” has also gained popularity in India, gaining more than 1 million downloads in just two weeks and climbing to the top of the Google Play download list, a new “one-click uninstall China APP” trend that has put TikTok in india.

The US, TikTok’s second-largest overseas market, is also unquiet.

Late last month, U.S. politicians sent a joint letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calling for an investigation into TikTok’s alleged invasion of children’s privacy, saying it collected personal information from users under the age of 13 without parental consent.

And in November, the U.S. government launched a review of the acquisition of Music.ly by Byte Dance two years ago, citing national security concerns.

The Regulatory storm in the North American market is still to be resolved, and the UK, EU, South Korea and others are starting to swell again. They have set up a working group to announce an investigation into TikTok’s collection of personal data.

In the face of the ensuing overseas scrutiny, there are not many options available for Mr Zhang to choose. In addition to constantly de-Chineseizing, recruiting more foreign executives and setting up a data backup system in Singapore, TikTok seems to have to go to the fore. But if the threshold of “privacy and censorship” is not successfully crossed, there is no doubt that TikTok’s path to globalisation will be extremely difficult.

Finally, the solution to the conflict between user growth and commercial realisation is also a mountain that TikTok must climb.

At the beginning of the day, Zhang asked the team to sprint the number of overseas users without considering profitability, and TikTok achieved a phenomenal user growth with ferocious advertising. But as advertising spending shrinks, so does the pace of user growth.

This has been accompanied by a demand for commercial realisation, and advertising revenue has until now been the main source of revenue for TikTok.

In 2019, TikTok’s global revenue sgenerated about $200 million to $300 million, still a significant gap from rival Snapchat’s $1.7 billion, Instagram’s $20 billion and Facebook’s $70 billion.

At the same time, as user growth slows and the proportion of advertising rises, it is bound to create a certain vicious circle for TikTok’s profit ecology.

The test hydroist is an attempt by TikTok to break this vicious cycle.

Late last year, TikTok tested a new feature, HashtagChallenge Plus, in the United States that allows some video creators to add product links to shared video clips. Using this approach, Amazon’s partnership with TikTok in April nearly doubled sales of beauty products compared with the same period in 2019.

And through this attempt seems to allow Zhang Yiming to increase some confidence: another way to catch up with the opponent from the side, is not completely impossible.


Three years on the expedition, more than 30 countries, more than 180 cities, captured more than 1 billion users around the world, TikTok’s overseas campaign has been undoubtedly successful so far.

But in this thorn-in-the-ground, the city slightly in the long march, Zhang Yiming is not easy.

First, it’s as dangerous to get into the territory of the old-school Internet overlords: Zuckerberg’s Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp social matrix has been firmly in control of the battlegrounds overseas, plus the frontal attackside side-bread copy of two elites, Lasso and Reels, and Google and YouTube’s surprise troop raids.

Fortunately, Zhang’s rapid founding foothold in the U.S. with his alliance with musical.ly and his big defeat on Instagram on the Indian battlefield has nothing to do with TikTok’s strategy of differentiating young users.

And the old enemy fast hand with the big Player Zyn straight from the rear to catch up and quickly counter-attack, really let TikTok shudder. Fortunately, the short video battle is based on the content ammunition, only lucky to return a game, but if the time quick hand to come back may also have to let Zhang Yiming in advance ready to defend the enemy policy.

The other side is clear, and there is still a way to keep in the way; if the enemy is in the dark, TikTok’s situation can be much more dangerous.

Since last year, the pace of TikTok’s attack has undoubtedly slowed down the pace of the management and investigation procedures of government agencies. Predictably, in this battle with the invisible hand, Zhang Yiming will be more cautious, so as not to lose in a slightly careless link to the hard-working entire jiangshan.

Because he knew that there was no way back in this long-running global war, and TikTok was his full hope.

Let the world be fascinated by the sound, Zhang Yiming took less than 4 years. The next step is to fill his globe with The Battle Flag of Byte Dance, and how long will TikTok use it?