TikTok competitors see surge in downloads as Microsoft weighs acquisition

TikTok still surpasses all competitor apps in downloads

TikTok competitor apps are moving up the ranks as U.S. companies consider buying TikTok before the U.S. government bans it over security concerns.

Short-form video apps Likee, Triller, Byte and Dubsmash garnered tens of thousands of U.S. downloads every day between July 26 and Wednesday, according to app data analytics website Apptopia.

"Triller may be trending now in the short term, but Likee is the app to watch," an Apptopia vice president of insights Adam Blacker told FOX Business.

Blacker wrote about the trending TikTok competitors in a Tuesday blog post, saying that Triller, Byte and another short-form video app called Dubsmash may be trending in the U.S., while Likee is trending around the world. Likee, however, is also Chinese-owned, which is the reason TikTok came under fire in the U.S. in the first place.

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"Likee is a very similar app to TikTok with very similar content. It’s published by BIGO Technology, which is owned by Joyy. Joyy is a company based in China that is competitive with Bytedance and it trades on the NASDAQ under ticker YY," Blacker wrote.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
YY JOYY, INC. 52.63 +0.40 +0.77%

India banned Likee, TikTok and 57 other Chinese-owned apps amid tensions with the country. Blacker believes that a U.S. ban on Likee is unlikely, however, if a U.S. company is successful in buying TikTok.

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"Over the past six months in the United States, Likee has been downloaded 7.25 million times, compared to Triller's 2.55 million times. TikTok? 47.46 million," Blacker wrote.

TikTok competitor apps see surge in downloads (graph: Apptopia.com)

Triller, a U.S. app that touts partnerships with the three biggest music companies in the U.S., ranked No. 2 among free apps on the App Store Tuesday and No. 18 among free apps on the Google Play Store Wednesday.

A Triller spokesperson told FOX Business that downloads have increased 20-fold in the last week alone, reaching over 250 million downloads worldwide. The app has 65 million active monthly users, up from just 2 million in 2017.

Apptopia's estimate for Triller downloads is 53.1 million on the App Store and Google Play.

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Byte (not to be confused with TikTok parent company ByteDance), is another U.S. app founded by Vine creator Dom Hofmann that ranked No. 3 among free apps on the App Store on Tuesday and No. 13 among free apps on the Google Play Store Wednesday. Byte did not immediately respond to an inquiry from FOX Business.

The surge in downloads among these apps could represent growing consumer interest in TikTok competitors as U.S. companies consider acquiring the app.

TikTok and Facebook applications displayed on iPhone screen (iStock)

Microsoft is poised to be the most suitable company to purchase TikTok as the app's Chinese-owned parent company, ByteDance, considers handing its U.S. operations over to a U.S. company to avoid potential consumer lawsuits, as FOX Business correspondents Charles Gasparino and Lydia Moynihan first reported. Other tech giants including Apple, Facebook and Google, have considered buying the app.

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Gasparino and Moynihan also reported that Triller has received commitments from investors worth up to $300 million.

TikTok has come under government scrutiny for privacy and security concerns due in part to a 2017 Chinese law that requires Chinese companies to comply with information requests from the CCP. Researchers at cybersecurity company Check Point also found privacy flaws within the app's code in January, which TikTok said it fixed shortly after Check Point reported them.

President Trump has said the U.S. government could ban the app as soon as Sept. 15 if its U.S. operations aren't sold to a U.S. company by then.

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