Technology

TikTok – Success for those who dare to go against the majority


Being fined billions of dollars by Europe, but there is one thing that makes Big Tech even more afraid, that is ByteDance’s TikTok, who makes the position of the US social network giants shake more violently than ever. end.

Indeed, if not afraid, the CEO of Facebook did not find any way to turn the attack on TikTok.

“TikTok is a threat to America’s technological standing and values, TikTok doesn’t share the same commitment as Facebook does about freedom of speech,” Mark Zuckerberg often repeats this message in meetings. from students, legislators to the President of the United States.

As a result, TikTok was actually banned under President Donald Trump in September 2020 after a series of executive orders targeting Chinese technology companies. ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok at that time was on the verge of being torn apart by American tech giants. Microsoft and Oracle emerged as the most potential buyers in this deal.

Finally, despite being lucky to escape, ByteDance understands that it has just fallen into the ‘impregnable’ land of Big Tech. Because what ByteDance’s TikTok is holding is the huge user data store of the generation that will control the world in the future, Gen Z.

The One Who Awakens the Giants

ByteDance was founded by young engineer Truong Nhat Minh in 2012. At that time, the company was still struggling to find a “long circuit” with many different applications. Only when Douyin launched the Chinese market at the end of 2016, ByteDance received the east wind with 100 million users after only one year of operation.

Douyin’s initial success helped ByteDance receive a huge amount of investment and Truong Nhat Minh then made a bold decision to enter the foreign market, something only Chinese tech giants like Tencent or Alibaba dare to think.

And so ByteDance crossed the sea with the new name TikTok, spent $ 1 billion to acquire Musical.ly to immediately have 200 million foreign users. The rest of the story has become history.

In just four short years, TikTok now has 1.1 billion monthly users (MAU) compared to 2.3 billion MAU and 2.6 billion MAU for YouTube and Facebook.

Numbers don’t lie. But not only users, TikTok also replaces competitors in creating trends, social networking phenomena and attracting the majority of Gen Z users, ie young people born in the late 90s and back. after.

Success thanks to the opposite of the wind

Facebook or YouTube have set standards for social network design, video length for countless other applications to imitate and fail. But TikTok chose the opposite path.

This is not the first innovative platform but TikTok knows how to create market demand and teach users. Young people today are often plugged into smartphones and have very little time to monitor something. So TikTok shortened the video length to just under 15 seconds.

Even better, TikTok forces users to either watch or skip, but cannot fast forward. Combined with the recommendation algorithm, the video matrix makes it impossible for viewers to take their eyes off the short videos that are shortened to endlessly long in TikTok.

If TikTok’s way of doing things was nothing special, Instagram and YouTube wouldn’t have to rush to launch the imitation feature. The giants sleeping on victory hastily woke up, but it may be too late when TikTok has just brought in $ 34.3 billion for ByteDance in 2020.

Although it has not been able to IPO in the US due to pressure from Beijing, ByteDance is still being valued at the latest round of funding at no less than $300 billion, at least three times the US super unicorn Uber.

In Vietnam, TikTok used to spend a lot of advertising money to entice users and has gained about 10 million real users.

But few people know that, before TikTok appeared, there was a Vietnamese application that emerged in attracting young people called Muvik. This application also goes in the direction of sharing music videos, focusing on lipsync tracks so that ordinary people can also lip sync along with famous singers.

However, being too limited to one genre caused Muvik to fall even when TikTok was not so popular in Vietnam. Not to mention, TikTok has a unique mark that can hardly be confused with short vertical videos while Muvik lacks too many things to make an impression, let alone raise capital to expand the market.

After all, startups still need algorithms, tools, and AI to analyze user behavior, suggest and recommend content before thinking about who and where the market is. Failing to do this step, the startup will only change from imitating Facebook to imitating TikTok.

Huu Phuong

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