TikTok installs jumped 35 per cent in May over the previous month, continuing its streak as the world’s most-downloaded non-game app, according to mobile market analytics firm Sensor Tower.
However, downloads of the viral short-video app were down 29 per cent year on year, falling short of its record 112 million downloads last May. In June of last year, the app was banned in India, its top overseas market at the time.
The figures include the international TikTok app and the Chinese version called Douyin, both owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. The biggest market for new installs last month was Brazil, with 16 per cent, followed by Douyin in China at 12 per cent, according to Sensor Tower.
The US was TikTok’s second-largest market from December to March, but it fell out of the top two in April, according to Sensor Tower.
TikTok has been facing a political backlash in the US since last summer, when then-president Donald Trump threatened to ban the app unless ByteDance divested its American operations, which Oracle and Walmart had plans to acquire.
The current administration under President Joe Biden has paused legal action against TikTok, but it is still reviewing US policy towards Chinese apps.
The tensions have led ByteDance to delay plans for an initial public offering. The nine-year-old start-up, currently the world’s most valuable unicorn, is having difficulties formulating a business structure that can please both Beijing and Washington, sources told the South China Morning Post in April.
Challenges in the US also led to the abrupt departure of TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, who resigned last summer after only three months on the job. ByteDance’s new chief financial officer Chew Shou Zi was appointed TikTok CEO in late April.
When ByteDance first hired Chew as CFO in March, it was seen as the company getting closer to a public listing. While CFO and international business president of Xiaomi, Chew oversaw the smartphone giant’s IPO in Hong Kong in 2018.
Before Xiaomi, Chew worked for DST Global, where he helped the venture firm invest in ByteDance in 2013.