The number of digital media companies on Helo, a platform ByteDance specifically created for India, has increased by close to 200% since its launch less than a year ago, Economic Times reported. The Chinese company has also reportedly begun experimenting with digital media publishers to post videos on the short video sharing app TikTok.
ByteDance has said that digital media companies and publishers in the country are increasingly leveraging the regional language entertainment content app Helo for posting news and update. Helo has more than 50 million monthly active users. There are about 20 digital media outlets on the app, including Scoopwhoop Hindi, Digit, and Sportskeeda. It has also started experimenting with some ad formats in app.
Sachin Sharma, director of sales and partnerships at ByteDance India, said they are working closely with digital publishers such as Scoopwhoop on TikTok to understand what works for their audiences.
“With the targeted growth of 300% of Helo in 2019, we will continue to engage with more content partners to offer our users content curated as per their preference,” said Sharma.
TikTok was the most-downloaded free app on iOS and the top free app in social category on Google Play Store after Madras high court lifted its three-week interim ban on the app.
ByteDance is the the world’s most valuable startup at USD 75 billion, according to a Bloomberg report. After the government asked Google and Apple to remove TikTok from their app stores last week, the Chinese internet giant said it would infuse USD 1 billion in the Indian market over the next three years. The company also plans to increase the number of employees in India to 1,000 people by the end of this year from 250 at present, the PTI report said.
TikTok was the most downloaded app globally in the first quarter of 2019 at 188 million downloads. According to market intelligence firm Sensor Tower, 47% of these downloads were from India.
India, with over 400 million smartphone users, has emerged as one of the most important markets for ByteDance. According to Counterpoint Research, close to a billion smartphones will be sold over the next five years. Increasing availability of affordable smartphones coupled with cheap data plans has catapulted the country into the largest mobile data consumer market globally.