In Vietnam, TikTok is a force to be reckoned with

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With 12 million active users and a series of successful campaigns, TikTok has been making leaps in capitalizing on the country’s tech-savvy users.

For 20-year-old Nguyen Ngoc Anh, a third-year student at the Da Nang University of Economics, the coolest trends among the hip, young people in Vietnam are now on TikTok, not just from the legacy platforms Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

The short video app, which hosts clips that run for 15 to 60 seconds, was seemingly built for rapid virality. Hashtags such as #beautymirror, #rabbitdance, or #agechallenge are catching fire in Vietnam, and young people are adapting well to TikTok’s tools, picking up tricks to make their short videos snazzy and stand out from the crowd.

“You have to sing, dance, do something weird, cute, and you also need cool music and special effects,” said Ngoc Anh, who has been using the app for nearly one year—even before TikTok’s official launch in the country this past April.

Running localized campaigns

Launched in 2016 by Beijing-based startup ByteDance, TikTok, which has an equivalent but separate entity called Douyin in China, is already a global phenomenon, with about 500 million active monthly users in 154 countries.

Globally, it was the third most installed app in the first quarter of 2019, trailing after two communication apps, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. TikTok’s overseas expansion has been plotted carefully, including in Vietnam, where 72% of the population owns a smartphone.

“In Vietnam, it is clear that users can rapidly catch up with new trends. They are also highly open-minded about consuming and creating new kinds of creative content,” said Nguyen Lam Thanh, head of public policy for TikTok in Vietnam. “The need for interaction and sharing among the Vietnam community is considered high, compared to other countries in the region.”

TikTok went live in Vietnam well before its official launch in April. At the time, the platform claimed it already had more than 12 million active users and 1,000 content creators based in Vietnam. TikTok does not disclose the latest statistics about user growth in Vietnam but estimates that Vietnamese users spend an average of 28 minutes per day on the platform, with peak traffic occurring between 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is currently the top app in the entertainment category in Vietnam’s App Store.

According to Thanh, localized campaigns have become a big part of TikTok’s engagement strategy in Vietnam. Its travel-themed campaign, #HelloVietnam, is organized in cooperation the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and has been a huge hit. The campaign helps promote Vietnam’s image via short-form mobile content.

Vietnam’s popular central coastal city Da Nang was chosen for the first phase of the campaign. Both #HelloVietnam and #HelloDanang have attracted more than 15,300 videos and 150 million views. The campaign’s next stop for this month is Ninh Binh Province, where the movie Kong: Skull Island was shot in 2017.

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