TikTok, known in China as Douyin (Chinese: 抖音; pinyin: Dǒuyīn), is a Chinese video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based Internet technology company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. It is used to create short music, lip-sync, dance, comedy and talent videos of 3 to 15 seconds, and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds. ByteDance first launched Douyin for the Chinese market in September 2016. Later, TikTok was launched in 2017 for iOS and Android in most markets outside of mainland China; however, it only became available worldwide, including the United States, after merging with another Chinese social media service Musical.ly on 2 August 2018.
TikTok and Douyin have almost the same user interface but no access to each other’s content. Their servers are each based in the market where the respective app is available. In addition to the ByteDance headquarters in Beijing, TikTok also has global offices, including in Dublin, Los Angeles, New York City, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo. Since its launch in 2016, TikTok/Douyin rapidly gained popularity in East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the United States, Turkey, Russia, and other parts of the world. As of August 2020, TikTok, excluding Douyin, has surpassed 1 billion users worldwide in less than four years. As of April 2020, Douyin has around 500 million monthly active users.In June 2020, Kevin Mayer became CEO of TikTok and COO of parent company ByteDance, but he resigned on August 27, just four months into the job. Previously, he was chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International. On 3 August 2020, US President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok in the United States on 15 September if negotiations for the company to be bought by Microsoft or a different “very American” company fail. On 6 August, Trump signed two executive orders banning US “transactions” with TikTok and WeChat to its parent company, ByteDance, set to take effect 45 days after the signing. It has been banned by the government of India since June 2020 along with other Chinese apps in response to a border clash with China.