ByteDance, the Chinese tech company that owns TikTok, is trying to persuade central and state government officials to join the platform and use it to promote various government initiatives, Business Standard reports (paywall). Since the elections, Bytedance representatives have made frequent visits to various ministries and agencies “to get the hang of things”, and to educate stakeholders about TikTok and other products to avoid situations such as the ban imposed on it in April. TikTok has also been aggressively hiring people who have worked at Google, Facebook, and Uber in India, especially in the policy space, and is seeking to allay the general mistrust Chinese companies face by collaborating with governments both at the national and state level, the report said.
Following in the footsteps of Facebook, Google and Twitter
The company is trying to work with the Centre on various initiatives around tourism and health, and on International Yoga Day, June 21, it ran a campaign to raise awareness around #YogaDay2019 on TikTok. Earlier this week, Kerala Tourism made its debut on TikTok as part of #TikTokTravel, the platform’s global tourism campaign, the Business Standard report said. In doing so, Bytedance is taking a leaf out of Facebook’s, Google’s and Twitter’s playbooks:
In October 2018, Facebook launched a Digital Literacy Library in collaboration with the women and child development ministry. A collection of lessons in six Indian languages – Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam – it was announced at Facebook’s South Asia Safety Summit and is meant to be a resource for educators looking to address digital literacy. Google India, meanwhile, has tied up with the Archaeological Survey of India offer virtual tours of historical monuments, and with the railway ministry to offer free WiFi at train stations. And Twitter is the go-to platform for central and state governments, which use it to promote various campaigns and communicate with people.
Bytedance has around 300 million monthly active users in India
TikTok has become a household name in India, with figures suggesting that ByteDance has around 300 million monthly active users in the country across its suite of three products — TikTok, Vigo Video, and Helo. Despite the 20-day ban on TikTok for spreading “cultural degradation”, ByteDance has already invested $100 million in the country and plans to invest $1 billion more in the coming years. After the ban was lifted, brands such as Pepsi, Snapdeal, Myntra, Shaadi.com and Shopclues lined up to advertise on the platform. TikTok is reportedly also working on a smartphone and a music streaming service.