Photo: TikTok
Photo: TikTok

TikTok could be making a comeback in India shortly. Following the relaunch of PUBG as Battlegrounds Mobile India, TikTok, a Chinese short video creating app, is apparently hoping to reclaim its tens of thousands of Indian consumers.

TikTok's parent firm ByteDance approached the IT ministry, and PMO officials, initiating negotiations ensuring authorities that the company would fully comply with the new IT Rules for social media platforms, The Print reported quoting sources.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos, on any topic.

TikTok maintains a separate app for the Chinese market, known as Duyin, which has over 300 million active monthly users. The new app’s logo is a combination of the and Duyin logos.

The TikTok app is based on the same short-form video concept but is much broader in scope and unlike does not only focus on lip syncing to music. ,

The TikTok app offers users a wide selection of sounds and song snippets, along with the option to add special effects and filters. There is also an option to directly add videos created on your phone.

In September, TikTok added the reactions feature which allows users to record their reactions to videos and share. TikTok has also added a digital well-being feature that alerts users when they spend over two hours on the app.

The new app is being promoted as a video-sharing social network. TikTok users can create a variety of videos ranging from challenges, dance videos, magic tricks, and funny videos. The key differentiating factor between and Tik Tok is that the latter has a much broader scope for video creation.

Since its launch, the TikTok app’s popularity has been growing tremendously. In October 2018, it was the most-downloaded photo and video app in the Apple store, globally. The app reportedly has amassed over 500 million monthly active users, the US being the most popular countrywhere it has been downloaded over 80 million times.

Reasons why TikTok is popular

Celebrity Endorsements

The app is liked and used by several celebrities, such as Jimmy Fallon, who helped drive the app’s popularity. The app has paid partnerships with several celebrities, in various regions, who promote the app to local audiences.

Jimmy Fallon’s interest in the app started naturally but was later capitalised on by the app, through a paid partnership. In November 2018, Jimmy Fallon started a “challenges” section on his show and used TikTok as a platform for the challenge.

He urged his viewers to take on the #TumbleweedChallenge and post videos on TikTok of themselves rolling like a tumbleweed. The TV host himself took the challenge, to kickstart this trend.

Localised Content

Another key driving factor in TikTok app’s popularity is the fact that despite being a global app, it has a strong focus on localised content. The app often runs local contests and challenges and captures on local trends through the use of localised hashtags.

TikTok runs the “1 million audition” contest across several countries, separately. For each contest, participants are given themes to create videos and then the top video creators are awarded. This contest not only leads to the creation of thousands of local videos, for each country where it is held but also helps TikTok creators gain recognition and followers.

One such contest held in Russia in September 2018 gained 31,000 video entries and millions of views from TikTok users. Thus, it helped promote the app in the country.

Easy Content Creation, Sharing, and Viewing

The TikTop app has simplified video creation and sharing and taken it to the next level. All users have to do is record anything and everything from their daily routines and post it instantly. Due to the short format, neither the video-creation nor the watching process takes much time or effort.

Additionally, this short-form video content is played as soon as a user opens the app. The videos start playing one-by-one and a viewer gets lost in a sea of fun, entertaining, addictive video content. Due to this addictive nature of the type of content, it is very easy for people to keep watching random videos for hours.

READ MORE: Who is Khabane Lame - Biography, Personal Life and TikTok Phenomenon

TikTok Eying A Comeback To India?

After PUBG’s relaunch in India as Battlegrounds Mobile India, TikTok appears to be all set to make a comeback in the country as well. The Chinese short video app has reportedly started discussions with the Indian government officials and is assuring the authorities that it’ll fully comply with the new IT Rules for social media platforms. Officials of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance reportedly approached the IT ministry and PMO officials and reiterated that the short video platform will follow fully comply with the new IT Rules, according to a report by ThePrint.

The Indian government had banned TikTok in July last year due to user privacy and national security reasons. However, ByteDance is reportedly hopeful that TikTok will soon make a return to India.

Besides TikTok, 58 other Chinese apps including Likee, Vigo, CamScanner, ShareIT, PUBG, and UC Browser, among others, were banned by the government amid rising political tensions between India and China over the Galwan Valley border.

In total, the government banned over 250 apps on three separate occasions. However, many Chinese apps are now making a comeback.

For instance, PUBG is officially back as Battlegrounds Mobile India. But the popular gaming title is still facing criticism for sharing users’ data with Chinese servers, and if the government pays heed to the issue, the game might get banned anytime soon.

But for TikTok, a comeback would be more difficult than PUBG because, unlike the gaming app which is developed by Korean firm Krafton, the short video app is owned by a Chinese company. Even Krafton had to do away with the stake of Chinese tech giant Tencent before re-releasing PUBG as Battlegrounds Mobile India. Also Read: Petrol, Diesel Prices Today, June 26, 2021: Petrol crosses Rs 100 in Patna, Trivandrum, check rates in your city

Moreover, Nikhil Gandhi, who was heading TikTok’s operations in India and few other countries, had also quit the firm last month. This was another major setback for ByteDance and TikTok in India.

Massively popular battle royale game PUBG Mobile is returning to India after being banned in September 2020, TechCrunch writes. The app is available in early access on Google’s Play Store under a new name, Battlegrounds Mobile India, and with some changes to the game itself, like green blood and a new account system.

PUBG Mobile was initially banned alongside hundreds of other apps because of connections to Chinese companies — in this game’s case, it was major video game investor Tencent. At the time of the ban, PUBG Studio (owned by the larger South Korean company Krafton) announced that it would relaunch in the region with new features customized for Indian gamers, including the color change to blood, and framing the game explicitly as a “virtual simulation training ground.”

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