TikTok says it has over 1 billion active users

Already popular before the pandemic, TikTok received a major boost amid Covid-19 lockdowns, school closures and telecommuting.
Already popular before the pandemic, TikTok received a major boost amid Covid-19 lockdowns, school closures and telecommuting.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP, REUTERS) - TikTok said Monday (Sept 27) it now has more than a billion active users, just four years after the hugely popular video-sharing app was launched by Chinese group ByteDance.

Already popular before the coronavirus pandemic - mainly due to its viral choreography set to pop songs - TikTok received a major boost amid lockdowns, school closures and telecommuting.

The video platform has gained more than 300 million users since July 2020, the last time the company had reported user numbers.

Initially built on the principle of 15-second videos, the platform raised the time limit to three minutes in early July to attract a wider audience and compete with YouTube.

For its part, the Google subsidiary launched YouTube Shorts, deployed in more than 100 countries in mid-July, to compete with TikTok in the short format segment.

The ByteDance subsidiary, whose equivalent in China is called Douyin, nevertheless remains well behind YouTube, which claimed 2.3 billion monthly active users in 2020.

By comparison, Facebook reported 2.9 billion monthly active users as of end of June 2021, according to its latest quarterly report.

TikTok is now looking to monetise more of its platform's traffic, something it was slow to do in its early days.

The social network accelerated into advertising last year and launched a new feature in late August 2021 that allows its users to directly purchase products offered on the platform by content creators.

The United States, Europe, Brazil and South-east Asia are the biggest markets for the app, TikTok said.

The company appointed ByteDance's chief financial officer Shouzi Chew, a Singaporean national, as the new chief executive officer of the company earlier this year.