China’s TikTok today launched an education program in India as the popular short-video app looks to expand its offering and assuage local authority in one of its biggest markets. This is the first time TikTok has launched a program of this kind in any market, a spokesperson told TechCrunch.
TikTok, owned by the world’s most valued startup Bytedance, said it’s working with a number of content creators and firms in India to populate the platform with educational videos.
These bite-sized clips cover a range of topics, from school-level science and math concepts to learning new languages. The social app is also featuring videos that offer tips on health and mental awareness, and motivational talks.
The social platform, which is used by more than 200 million users in India every month, said its education program is aimed at “democratizing learning for the Indian digital community on the platform.” (TikTok had 120 million monthly active users in April this year.)
It has partnered with edtech startups Vedantu, Toppr, Made Easy and Gradeup that will produce educational content for TikTok. It is also collaborating with social enterprises Josh Talks and the Nudge Foundation to mentor 5,000 people across India. (Some of the partnerships were disclosed a few months ago.) An executive with Josh Talks said the firm has been able to reach more than 35 million users in less than two months on TikTok, far more users than it has attracted on other platforms.
Sachin Sharma, director of Sales and Partnerships at TikTok, said the social app’s foray into education is a response to the demand it has seen from users. Educational videos are some of the most popular and engaging videos on the platform globally, he said at a press conference in New Delhi.
In recent months, more than 10 million educational videos have been created and shared on TikTok, where they have garnered more than 48 billion views, Sharma claimed. He did not reveal the financial structure of TikTok’s deal with its creator partners.
As consumption of mobile video booms in India, thanks in part to the availability of cheap data and proliferation of low-cost Android handsets, a growing number of edtech startups have emerged in the nation to deliver their catalog online.
Eight-year-old startup Byju’s, which offers a learning app, has seen its customer base balloon in recent years. The startup, valued at over $5.75 billion, had about 35 million users as of three months ago.
Educational content is also more attractive to advertisers, which could help TikTok explore better monetization options in the future, analysts said.
Expansion to e-learning would also help the startup improve its brand image with local authority. The app has already run into issues in India a couple of times. Earlier this year, an Indian court banned TikTok, alleging that it was hosting and promoting pornographic and other illicit content. The ban was later lifted.