Skip to navigationSkip to content

TikTok is regaining its position in India by paying Indians to download the app

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
FILE PHOTO: The logo of TikTok application is seen on a mobile phone screen in this picture illustration taken February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Illustration/File Photo
By Aria Thaker
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

TikTok is back with a vengeance in India.

The Chinese short-form video app has moved up sharply in a ranking of the most downloaded smartphone apps in India within just two days after it returned on Google and Apple stores in the country after a week-long ban.

On April 30, the day TikTok was restored on the app stores, it was the 90th most downloaded app on the Google Play Store in India and the 13th among the category of “social” apps, reports the mobile data and analytics company App Annie. A day later (May 01), it had become the 15th most downloaded application in India, and the 4th most among social apps.

Until it was taken down from the app stores in India on April 17, TikTok was on top of the ranking of daily downloads in India, according to App Annie.

Last week, the Madras high court lifted the ban on TikTok that had resulted in it being taken off of Google and Apple’s app stores. Two days ago (April 30), it returned to the app stores.

The sharp surge in downloads may be aided by the fact that TikTok, owned by Chinese unicorn Bytedance, is using cash incentives to fuel interest in further downloads. Every day between May 01 and May 16, the app is offering users who download the app a chance to win Rs1 lakh ($1,400).

These aggressive promotion techniques may be an attempt to earn the revenue Bytedance lost over the week of the ban. The company has said the ban caused it a loss of $500,000 (Rs3.48 crore) per day, according to a Reuters report.

With its new lease on life in India, TikTok also seems to be proceeding with caution. Yesterday (May 01), the company announced the creation of two new safety features: new notification controls, and a device management tool that will help users control logins to their devices to prevent hacks. It also launched an in-app quiz for users on security practices, aiming to teach them about topics like password safety, phishing attempts, and scam websites.

Last month, as the Indian election began, the app also began showing users a warning to not share fake news when they searched hashtags related to Indian politics.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.