The History and Evolution of TikTok: From Douyin to Global Phenomenon

In recent years, the popularity of the short-video application, TikTok, has skyrocketed and it has become one of the most widely-used social media platforms in the world. As of January 2023, the number of TikTok users worldwide has reached a staggering 1.05 billion, according to reports by We Are Social and Hootsuite.

The growth of TikTok users in the last year alone has increased by 18.8%. The United States boasts the highest number of TikTok users, with 113.25 million as of early 2023. Following closely behind is Indonesia, with 109.9 million users, while Brazil and Mexico each have 82.21 million and 57.51 million users respectively, according to Databoks.

Despite its massive popularity, not many people are aware of the origins and history of TikTok. In this article, we will take a closer look at the history of TikTok, which is now beloved by the global community.

From Douyin to TikTok: The Early Days

TikTok, originally known as Douyin, was created by Zhang Yiming, a software engineering graduate from Nankai University in China. The app was released in September 2016 under the name Douyin, and it quickly garnered a positive response from users. Within a short span of time, Douyin attracted 100 million users, with approximately 1 billion video views every day.

ByteDance, the technology company founded by Yiming in March 2012, later acquired, a social media app dominating the field of short video sharing in the United States. In order to make the name easier to pronounce and remember, the app was rebranded as TikTok.

The Rise of TikTok

TikTok gained widespread popularity in 2018 and its user base surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. As people around the world were confined to their homes, many turned to TikTok to keep themselves entertained.

In 2022, TikTok ranked among the top five most popular social media platforms in the world, accounting for the largest downstream internet traffic, at around 3.93%, according to a report by the Canadian application and networking company, Sandvine.

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