The popular social network TikTok, where short videos are published with cheerful music, is already known to almost everyone. The site itself writes about itself – trends are born here. And it is true. Publishing, watching videos, ranking system and selection of interesting content – all this in Tik Tok is done in such a way that interesting things instantly become popular. But among about a billion users, not everyone knows exactly how this social network appeared, who created it, and why TikTok conquered the world. We’ll talk about this.
“Tik Tok” is both a social network and video hosting, and to a greater extent a social network, because the videos are published there are very specific. In defiance of YouTube, where there is more and more serious, educational content, TikTok relies on short entertaining videos, usually funny, interesting, and memorable. Often popular tracks of different musicians are used as background music. Everything is official: you can use only the works of authors who have entered into an agreement with Tik Tok.
The history of the creation and formation of the TikTok application
After launching a successful news startup, Zhang Yiming wanted to move on and develop outside of China. But, unlike a closed country, where the news niche was half empty, in the rest of the world there were enough aggregators of this kind. So he turned his attention to the entertainment segment. An interesting, bright application could be the product with which the company would enter the international market. That is why ByteDance Ltd. started working with social networks where you can upload videos.
The prototype of TikTok is musical.ly, an application where users could create one-minute videos by adding various music tracks, filters, and effects to them. This social network appeared in August 2014 thanks to the efforts of Alex Zhu (English Alex Zhu) and Luis Yang (English Luyu “Louis” Yang). The application was created on the basis of the Cicada educational project, which, as they say, “did not take off”. Investors invested, but the public took the five-minute educational videos cool. With the remaining money, fellow developers decided to look for new ideas and created an entertaining application that everyone liked.
Around the same time, ByteDance Ltd. released its service for short videos – Toutiao Video, which almost immediately turned into Xigua Video. And then there was also TopBuzz Video with roughly similar functionality, but designed for an audience in another country.
The first experience with video services resulted in the fact that in September 2016, ByteDance Ltd. In China, the social network Douyin appeared – this is how the Chinese still call TikTok. The application interested users, and the company released exactly the same, but with a different name. This is how TikTok was born.
Interestingly, the other brand name was chosen solely for legal reasons. The company did not want to adjust the functionality of the application to Chinese laws, because foreigners would use it. As a result, there is no such program as TikTok in the Chinese market at all, everyone there uses Douyin.
And what about musical.ly, if Tik Tok was created in parallel? Most likely, Zhang Yiming borrowed the idea of a social network with short videos, considering it promising. And while musical.ly was growing, ByteDance Ltd. searched for the most suitable application format by testing their projects in Chinese and foreign markets.In addition to excellent functionality, there is also a recognizable and beautiful TikTok logo.
And finally, in 2017, the stars aligned and ByteDance Ltd. bought musical.ly. It took several months of preparation for the two social networks to merge into one. It was after the merger on August 2, 2018 that Tik Tok became what we know it now. Then Stefan Heinrich (head of TikTok marketing department) noted that the two applications had been working and developing in parallel for a long time in different regions. In his opinion, the merger was logical and became the final point in the creation of a new project.
By the way, the merger of the two services was not well received by everyone. In the United States, even an investigation initiated by the US Committee on Foreign Investment began – the intelligence services decided that the purchase of a service by a Chinese company could be dangerous for the citizens of their country.