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TikTok Retains Pole Position as World’s Highest-Earning Non-Game App Despite U.S. Threats

By Ding Yi / Sep 07, 2020 01:13 PM / Business & Tech

Despite losing the Indian market and President Donald Trump’s threat to ban it in the U.S., ByteDance-owned TikTok was still the world’s highest-earning non-game app in August, although the app’s August earnings were less than those of the previous three months.

The embattled Chinese short video app generated more than $88.1 million in revenue last month, 6.3 times higher than its earnings for the same period last year, according to statistics provided by research firm SensorTower.

SensorTower attributed the year-on-year growth to the strong performance of Douyin, the local version of TikTok, in the Chinese market, accounting for about 85% of the app’s August revenue, with the U.S. market being its second-largest revenue source with 7.8%.

However, TikTok’s August revenue represented a decline when compared with the months of July, June and May when the app raked in $102.5 million, $90.7 million and $95.7 million respectively.

The month-on-month revenue drop came as TikTok’s major rivals enjoyed jumps in user numbers in the U.S. as the ban looms. Data provided by SensorTower on the top five short video apps in the U.S. showed that TikTok accounted for 76% of total category downloads in January, while the remaining four collectively represented 24%. In August, the collective download share of TikTok’s four largest competitors climbed to 44%, shrinking TikTok’s market share by 20 percentage points in the process.

As its primary money-making app TikTok has met strong resistance in the course of its global expansion, and ByteDance is exploring other opportunities to invest in promising tech firms in an attempt to expand its potential revenue streams.

On Friday, Reuters reported that ByteDance had acquired Chinese third-party payment service UIPay with the goal of enhancing user experience on its multiple platforms in China. The deal came just months after ByteDance purchased medical knowledge platform Baikemy.com on its foray into online health content.

The Chinese tech unicorn has also set its sights on foreign companies with an Economic Times report in July revealing that ByteDance was in talks with Indian edtech startup Lido Learnings for a potential investment opportunity despite the fact that it already has its own tutoring apps including GoGoKid and Qingbei.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: ByteDance Seeks New Investment Opportunities Amid Global TikTok Pushbacks


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