Sonam Rai, 21, is a student in Kolkata, the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, who spends two hours a day on short video app Tik Tok. Immersed in the short video app for over one year, she already has 79,900 followers and has received 205,500 likes on the app.
"Tik Tok is so interesting and entertaining that people around me are all using it," Rai told the Global Times on Monday. Even though she doesn't earn a penny from the app, she hopes to become popular with the help of Tik Tok. Many of her friends share the same goal.
The success of Tik Tok in India is due to the company's experience in China. India has a similar demographic structure as China, and rural teenagers need a platform to win more attention from the outside world, said Zhang Yi, CEO of iiMedia Research Institute.
Labeled as the Instagram of India, and the competitor of YouTube, Tik Tok occupied the Indian market at a remarkable speed in 2018.
According to mobile app store marketing intelligence institution Sensor Tower, Tik Tok was downloaded 32.3 million times in India last year, up 25 times from 2017. The number accounted for 27 percent of the app's worldwide downloads, Sensor Tower added.
A subsidiary of Beijing-based ByteDance, Tik Tok is the international version of China's Douyin. Many of the main features of Tik Tok are copied from Douyin, such as the dance steps and hand gestures for lip-synching. Like Chinese online celebrities, the most popular Tik Tok users can become famous with only a 15-second video.
"If somebody has 7 to 8 million followers on Tik Tok, they will start to run their YouTube and Instagram accounts to get more followers. Then companies will come to sponsor them with payments of about 10 to 15 lakh ($14,053 to $21,080) per month," said an Indian entrepreneur named Sourav Sharma.
He appreciated the marketing strategy of Tik Tok in India, saying Tik Tok's success should go to Bollywood celebrities' use of the app and the lack of a competitor in India.