India Bans Tik Tok
COVID-19 and China
Tik Tok, the international version of Douyin. Photo: Credit to ByteDance

The India government required to take down Tik Tok from the App store of iOS and Android. According to The Economic Times, an India Media, two people familiar with the matter said that the move was made by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). It came after the Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay an earlier order by the Madras High Court to ban the App. For people who already downloaded the Tik Tok, they could keep using it. However, new users cannot download it any longer after taking down.

On Apr 3, 2019, Madurai, the bench of Madras High Court passed an order which asks the government to ban the download of Tik Tok. For media companies which telecasting the videos made by Tik Tok, the order also restricted them. According to the Madras High Court, the short videos playing in Tik Tok are harmful to the growth of children. Tik Tok, however, when replying to the media, said that they have confidence in the Indian judicial system, and promised that Tik Tok will keep promoting the existing policies and introduce extra technology to better the evaluation process.

ByteDance, the owner of Tik Tok, had earlier appealed to the apex court against the High Court directive. According to ByteDance, they do not take responsibilities for the users’ actions on the platform, just as other third-party platforms. The order is discriminatory and arbitrary if the Tik Tok is the only one victim. In addition, ByteDance also said that after a detailed evaluation and analysis about the short videos uploaded by Indian users, they have deleted more than 6 million short videos which break the community rules. A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, posted the matter for hearing to April 22, as the Madras High Court is expected to hear the case on April 16. 

India is becoming one of the most important overseas markets of ByteDance. Both Tik Tok and Helo are popular in India, especially for young teens. Sensor Tower’s data shows that in 2019 Q1, the new users of Tik Tok was 188 million with a YOY growth rate of 70%, compared with the 110 million new users in 2018 Q1. India contributed most parts of the increase. In 2018 Q4, the India new users of Tik Tok is around 88.6 million, which was about 8.2 times that number in the corresponding period of last year.

According to the statistics data, the total installation volume of Tik Tok in the App Store and Google Play is more than 1.1 billion, which generated almost USD 80 million to ByteDance. Currently, Tik Tok ranks the 3rd place in the download list that includes App Store and Google Play, after the WhatsApp and Messenger. In 2019 Q1, the global users’ payment in Tik Tok was USD 18.9 million, with a YOY growth of 222%, which was USD 59 million in 2018. 40% of the revenue came from China.



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