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Is TikTok At The End of its Growth Curve In The West?

The tech industry continues to reel despite a recent stock price resurgence. Many companies remain under tremendous pressure, and more layoffs are on the horizon. TikTok is still getting much heat over its data collection and continues to lose ground in the United States. 

TikTok Faces A Steep Battle

One cannot deny the growth of TikTok over the past few years. It is a go-to platform for short-format video creators. In addition, all major brands have established a presence on the platform, despite it being controlled by the Chinese government. There have always been concerns over data harvesting and “spying on the West”. Those concerns have proven more than valid. 

More specifically, the Australian government will likely further crack down on the platform. Officials are concerned over parent company ByteDance’s data collection methods. Some even deem it “unethical”, which would open the door to regulation. In addition, many people express concerns over “inappropriate content” on the video platform. Preventing the app from collecting data will prove tricky, but outright banning the service isn’t impossible.    

However, the company and platform have other concerns too. Various US states prohibit the use of TikTok on government devices. One could argue government officials should do their government work and not look up memes, fails, or dance moves on social media. However, human nature is very tricky, and banning the platform on such devices is easier. Over half of the US states now restrict TikTok, with more likely to follow. Kentucky is one of the latest states to do so

Even so, these developments won’t necessarily impact the position of ByteDance or its video platform. TikTok isn’t a publicly traded stock, and ByteDance is a private company backed by the Chinese government. As long as the platform continues to “do its job” – whichever that may be – it will remain active and popular. However, there may be better alternatives in the future. Until those materialize, using TikTok is almost mandatory for brands, companies, influencers, and content creators.

Sustaining A Billion Users

The growth of TikTok has been rather spectacular in recent years. The platform had under half a billion users in 2020, and has grown to over 750 million last year. Statista projections indicate surpassing $1 billion should occur between 2025 and 2026. That is, assuming the current growth rate proves sustainable, which may not be the case. With more scrutiny and restrictions, it seems unlikely TikTok’s growth in the West will continue. 

However, the app can still hit $1 billion users through its growth in China and the rest of Asia. It may gain a more favorable position in Russia and other countries depending on political schemes. There is much room for growth ahead for the company, even if the West cracks down on it further. Even so, a future without TikTok is also possible, yet China will likely attempt to launch a new social platform to replace it.