Commentary

ByteDance Challenges Social Media Titans

As TikTok, its video-sharing app, continues to bloom, ByteDance is setting its sights on other categories controlled by tech titans like Facebook and Apple.

Earlier this week, the Chinese company launched Flipchat -- an app that blends messaging and social elements. It is seen as a potential rival to Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp offerings.

Facebook believes its future lies in private messaging, so any additional competition in that area is potentially significant.

Sources tellBloomberg that ByteDance is developing a paid music service that could take on Apple Music, Spotify, and others.

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Of course, challenging Facebook and Apple on their own turf is easier said than done, but ByteDance has already proven it can do it. And TikTok just celebrated its fifth straight quarter as the most installed app on the App Store, according to recent analysis by Sensor Tower.

Known to the world as musical.ly until it was acquired and modified by ByteDance, TikTok racked up 33 million new installs during the first quarter of the year.

Factoring in Google’s Play Store, WhatsApp topped the list of the most installed apps during the period. Worldwide, the Facebook-owned app saw 223 million new installs, according to Sensor Tower. 

The extent to which Flipchat can chip away at WhatsApp’s numbers is unknown, but ByteDance believes it can create synergies between its growing network of apps.  

For example, sources tell Bloomberg that ByteDance plans to convert some of TikTok’s community into paying customers of its forthcoming music service.

No small startup, ByteDance was recently valued at more than $75 billion.
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