Asia Business Channel

YouTube competitor TikTok has ambitious plans to expand in Vietnam

TikTok, a product of Bytedance, a Chinese software company headquartered in the U.S. has announced that it’s planning to step up its Vietnam operations, targeting a wider Vietnamese customer base.

TikTok is a short-form video hosting service that offers a short video sharing application, 15 seconds per video for basic accounts. It’s initial content is primarily lip syncing, dancing, or recording with fancy stickers and other effects.

The TikTok app has quickly attracted the attention of many young people, particularly at school age, but is yet to appeal to older adults.

Diep Que Anh, national director of communications for TikTok Vietnam and other emerging markets, said that the application is trying to "age" its content to widen its user coverage. Industry insiders have said that the platform must broaden its audience before it can become an advertising platform that can satisfy the demands of advertising agencies and brands.

Que Anh said that the platform is still in its ad-free phase and that the company is waiting for the market to mature. According to Que Anh, "There have been brands who have approached us regarding advertising, but we do not intend to monetize our service at the present time.”

Not revealing specific numbers, TikTok estimated that Vietnamese users spend an average of 28 minutes per day on TikTok, however independent media research companies like Kantar or Nielsen have not confirmed these audience numbers. TikTok says It’s prime time for Vietnamese users is 6 ~ 8pm on Friday and Saturday.

TikTok now covers Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The company says that after just one year, Vietnam has become the fastest user growth market in Southeast Asia.

TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance received $3 billion in capital from firms led by General Atlantic, KKR and Softbank which boosted the company’s valuation to $75 billion USD, officially surpassing Uber to become the most valuable technology startup in the world.

TikTok's strength in the global advertising market is growing rapidly. According to Google’s ‘Best of 2018’ list, TikTok is the only social networking application named in User’s Choice Awards App of the year, while Facebook, Instagram or Youtube are no longer in the list.

Some reports estimate that the global audience for this app this year is about 500 million. In Vietnam, the most successful content trend of the year - the 2018 AFF Cup, resulted in more than 120,000 videos released on the event, which attracted 54.8 million views.

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