TikTok has taken the world by storm. The video-sharing app has seen a surge in popularity since the pandemic started, amassing 315 million downloads in the first quarter of 2020 alone. The app has come under fire in various countries like the United States and India, but a recent study shows that by that time, the app was already riding on a wave of international fame.
E-commerce aggregator iPrice Group gathered data from data analysis platform Deepaso and ranked the top 18 countries with the highest TikTok download index from January to September this year.
The U.S. is at number one, despite President Donald Trump’s calls to ban the app. In August, Trump signed an executive order describing the app as a “national emergency,” following claims that it is a national security threat that could allow the Chinese government to obtain data on Americans. Beijing-based company ByteDance, which owns TikTok, has denied this. On Friday, District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone blocked the Commerce Department order calling for restrictions that would have effectively banned TikTok in the U.S. by Nov. 12. TikTok is still available in the U.S. as of writing.
India still has the eighth highest number of TikTok downloads this year, even though the country banned the app in June. According to iPrice, this could mean that a huge number of people got on the platform earlier in the year.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had claimed that TikTok, along with dozens of other Chinese apps, were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.”
TikTok also halted operations in Hong Kong in July, after the territory adopted a controversial national security law that requires social media platforms to hand over user data to the government in June. Even so, Hong Kong is still ranked 18th on iPrice’s list.
Elsewhere in the world, people continue to download TikTok. Other countries on the list include Thailand in the third spot, Vietnam at fourth, and Germany at fifth. The study ranked China second, although the country has its own version of TikTok called Douyin.
Since becoming available internationally in 2018, TikTok now has an estimated 850 million monthly active users. It has had a big impact on internet culture, birthing trends and viral memes, and creating a new breed of influencers of various genres. There’s 16 year-old Charli D'Amelio, who rose to fame with dance videos, Ytiet, a Vietnamese man who sings numbers to different tunes, and Chris Sutherland, a physics professor who makes videos poking fun at his job. We’ve also seen the rise of “collab houses,” where people who have made it big on the app move in with each other to create content together.