Chinese social media is largely impenetrable for most in the West — just check out their memes — but Sino tech giants have their eye on owning the U.S. market, evidenced by the rise of TikTok.
Why it matters: While the video-based app simply seems like a benign platform for Gen Zers to make and share funny memes, it’s could become a Chinese vacuum for coveted American data.
- It has made its top creators into bona fide celebrities, as evidenced by a look at YouTube’s annual VidCon by The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz.
Between the lines: TikTok’s “parent company, ByteDance, recently valued at more than $75 billion, bills itself first as an artificial intelligence company, not a creator of mission-driven social platforms,” per the New York Times. Its secret sauce: “Apparently you just … show [users] things, and let a powerful artificial intelligence take notes.”