Is the rise of TikTok Unstoppable as a globally dominant app?

ByteDance knows how to create winners and is now the most valuable startup in the world.

It’s hard to appreciate how fast China can push apps and businesses to scale globally in 2019. This wasn’t always the case, but TikTok is breaking the rules and could challenge Instagram not just as the spiritual successor to “Vine”, but to GenZ retention on apps in general.

The 90s kids and those born in the early 2000s like this app, a lot! According to Sarah Perez, my favorite reporter at TechCrunch, TikTok is the up-and-coming of apps.

TikTok is what Snapchat could have been had it tried harder to grow internationally. ByteDance, the company behind TikTok has in fact already created a Snapchat-lone that’s a challenger to WeChat for messaging called Duoshan. Cute, right? Duoshan, which is Chinese for “flashes,” allows users to record and send each other short videos that disappear after 72 hours.

ByteDance is creating Apps to Rule them All

However TikTok is already becoming a global sensation.

  • The short-form video app hailing from Beijing’s ByteDance just had its biggest month ever with the addition of 75 million new users in December
  • SenseTower is reporting that 275% (percent) increase from the 20 million it added in December 2017, according to data released January 24th, 2019.
  • TikTok isn’t just a lip-syncing app it’s the most viral teen app since it makes stories more creative and interactive.

The New Language of Apps and Micro Video Stories

TikTok has eclipsed what Vine was, because it’s creating a pop-culture and meme-sharing virality that’s GenZ-orientated that integrates things like gaming, sub-culture, skits, comedy and influencer marketing in a fundamentally new way that’s hitting Asia by storm.

If Instagram is voyeuristic and naughty, TikTok is a celebration of shared creativity. It’s a very different tone, and that leads to a different manipulation of internal states.

If you are going to be exhibitionist online, might as well be creative too right?

Digital native young people on TikTok are giving a platform for them. And it bodes terribly for apps like Instagram that will be hijacked by politics in 2019 due to the elections of 2020.

TikTok since it’s a lot of original interactive content is also fueled by the uptick in young people spending time on YouTube. This is clearly way more than Vine 2.0.

TikTok is able to hold attention due to its fast-paced somewhat comical approach to micro video.

It turns out GenZ sort get off on memes that are cringey and bizarre. The quality of Netflix originals these days can attest to this trend as well.

TikTok is a generational success because it understand its demographic better than Snapchat or Instagram did, and it should terrify Silicon Valley app developers.

ByteDance is the new “B” in the BAT of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, China’s own FANG, and an uprising that is a Chinese tech dynasty in the making.

As of November, 2018 TikTok has already been downloaded 80 million times in the US, and is clearly the single most fast growing teen app in the world as of January, 2019.

TikTok is creating a new genre of micro video that’s GenZ and Alpha cohort native. That kind of content doesn’t exist on Instagram, Facebook or even on YouTube.

In a world of hijacked feeds and biased algorithms, maybe young people just want a fun place about them.

What I love about TikTok is it represents (like Sara points out) an alternative version of online sharing where it’s okay to be bizarre, goofy, irrelevant and just plain silly. A world where it’s okay to be moved by the little things.

TikTok can take elements of before-and-after makeovers into viral memes that can celebrate Moms.

What happens when the simplest dance memes go viral? It creates a new addictive world for young people. Ever wonder what they are doing on their mobile phones all day? TikTok is part of that.

So here we have a new media — TikTok and a company in ByteDance who understand teens upgrade with AI that is the envy of Tencent, Facebook and lowly Snapchat.

Somewhat like Facebook going after pre-teens, it’s important to mention ByteDance appears lax with under-13 kids setting up social media accounts without parental consent. ByteDance is creating a funnel for young people and learning about their attention and what they find brings them joy.

TikTok is a global sensation of what short videos are becoming

Douyin and Doushan will be a formidable 1–2 punch for ByteDance’s growth in 2019 and for all app developers and engineers and product people out there, it’s one to watch. The truth is China doesn’t need “jewel” Huawei for global growth, ByteDance is spreading Chinese influence in Asia under the radar.

Qualitatively, TikTok’s accelerating Western popularity is evidenced by the number of celebrities who are flocking to the service. Being an “influencer” on TikTok actually means something when peer-to-peer influence is highly lucrative for retail brands.

TikTok is the international version of Douyin, a popular short-form video app in China. It’s popularity is skyrocketing and it could even be the next-Instagram just as Duoshan could be the next Snapchat.

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon used TikTok for a new segment. TikTok has been on a growth tear around the world, but its US performance has been especially notable. How often does a Chinese app do this well among American teens? It’s never happend before, and it’s sending Facebook into war-chest startup mode, even placing them in hot water.

You want challenges, streaks, creativity — you to go TikTok, not to Instagram. Instagram’s content is rather static in comparison filled with Ads. The app allows users to record and publish video clips of up to 15 seconds, and offers a variety of effects, filters and stickers that they can use to enhance their videos.

The Duet feature of TikTok is pretty epic in terms of the amount of content it has spawned and what it has contributed to meme-culture broadly speaking.

TikTok will be one of the most downloaded apps in 2019, I predict.


Facebook will need to do more than merge messaging in its Apps to keep up with ByteDance in 2020.

Facebook’s older legacy apps won’t be able to compete with the new wave, just as China inches ahead in mobile in-app innovation to rule the coming 5G web.