TikTok is raising operations in Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Faizal Ramli
TikTok, a product of Bytedance, a Chinese software company headquartered in the US, 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.
It has to do this before it can become an advertising platform that can satisfy the demands of its client brands, some experts and industry insiders have said.
Not revealing specific numbers, Que Anh estimated that Vietnamese users spend an average of 28 minutes per day on TikTok. Its prime time, when the app sees the highest traffic in the country, is 6 p.m.-8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.
The platform is still in its ad-free phase. "There have been brands who have approached us regarding advertising, but we do not intend to monetize our service at the present time," Que Anh said, adding that they were waiting for the market to mature.
TikTok has opened its first representative office in Ho Chi Minh City with around 70 employees. Que Anh said this number will continue to grow to several hundred employees.
"After just one year, Vietnam has become our biggest market in Southeast Asia," she said.
According to Que Anh, TikTok now covers Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The Telegraph reported that in October, after receiving an additional US$3 billion in capital from firms led by Softbank, KKR & Co and General Atlantic, Bytedance boosted its valuation to US$$75 billion, officially surpassing Uber to become the most valuable technology startup in the world.
The Telegraph and many other newspapers call Bytedance a Chinese tech firm, although Que Anh noted TikTok’s headquarters is in Los Angeles, the U.S., and that its products are already in 150 markets.
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.