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Bytedance is loving India.
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TikTok hires a senior executive to boost monetisation in India

By Ananya Bhattacharya

TikTok is getting down to business in India.

China’s ByteDance, the parent company of popular short video apps TikTok, Vigo Video, and Helo, said yesterday (May 21) that it is bringing on board Sameer Singh as its vice-president of monetisation for India. Singh is coming to ByteDance from media investment firm GroupM, where he was CEO of south Asian operations.

“In his new role, Sameer will work closely with ByteDance’s partners and clients while leading the advertising, sales and marketing strategies across all of ByteDance’s products in India,” the company said in a statement. Based in Gurugram, Singh will step into his new role from August.

India poses a massive opportunity for TikTok. Indians comprise almost 40% of its 500 million user base. Together, ByteDance’s three products have reportedly amassed more than 300 million users in the country.

The company, though, has faced some roadblocks.

In April, TikTok was banned in India for a week in the aftermath of porn and privacy problems. However, the wildly popular app has bounced back. It now holds the pole position in the top free apps charts on Android and Apple devices in India.

Both TikTok and Helo are tapping into regional audiences by making the apps available in several local vernaculars. A sizable chunk of TikTok’s audience is in rural India. In fact, other Chinese players like dating app Tantan has recognised the platform’s wide reach and even advertised on it. Bengaluru-based food-tech company Swiggy and cosmetic brand Clean & Clear have also tried their hands at advertising on TikTok.

Like on other social media platforms, TikTok offers various advertising opportunities through hashtag challenges, brand takeovers, in-feed native videos, and more.

These apps are hot property since they give brands access to a massive youth pool, who spend almost half an hour in an app like TikTok daily, according to Media Ant, a Mumbai-based marketplace for advertising options. Like Instagram, TikTok has its own set of organic influencers who brands can rope in for campaigns directed at its mostly under-24 audience, too.