Within the past few years, video sharing social media platform TikTok has quickly become one of the world’s most downloaded apps – with the app seeing more than 1 billion downloads in the IOS and Android app stores in 2019 alone. The country leading in downloads is not the United States or China, however, but India. With 660 million downloads since the app’s launch in 2017, that number was expected to continue rising, but recent events in India have halted that growth indefinitely.
Amidst growing tensions with China, India’s decision to ban dozens of Chinese-owned apps includes TikTok. While it is not the social media platform’s first time being banned in India – the app was removed from Indian app stores in 2019 but eventually returned – content creators are working quickly to find alternate solutions to share their content with their audiences. Many Indian TikTok creators have been forced to move to Instagram and YouTube to share their videos, but they have also had to teach some of their audience how to use platforms along the way.
Some Indian internet company executives are embracing the ban, hoping it will drive more Indian users to homegrown social media apps like the TikTok alternative “Roposo.” With India offering such a large market for TikTok, parent company ByteDance is worried about the impact the ban will have on the app’s growth, as well as advertising revenue. Indian TikTok influencers with large followings are also at a disadvantage regarding advertising, and it is yet to be seen whether or not they will able to maintain their sponsorships by switching to a platform such as Instagram or YouTube.
It’s impressive to think that TikTok, which began as Musical.ly, has so quickly risen to the top of the social media charts. The numbers the app boasts on a yearly, and even monthly basis, are extremely impressive. With nearly 800 million monthly average users, TikTok has not only become a source of entertainment for consumers but a way for influencers and content creators to make a living. For Indian TikTok stars, the route to growing their following has become a little bit more difficult.