The Viral App TikTok Could Lose the Grip to Emerging US startup Firework

The viral app TikTok owned by ByteDance, which is a Chinese company, is reportedly undergoing a US national security review, for censoring the politically sensitive content. Hence, the short-form video-sharing platform could risk losing its grip on the emerging medium which has proven the most popular one among teenagers.

TikTok Popularity Stunt

If TikTok goes down in rankings than others could fill the void. And another video-sharing startup named Firework based in Mountain View, California, which looks like a sister app, is one company aiming to become part of broader social media landscape. Firework app launched in September 2018, and it already has 3 million users and the majority of them in the United States and it’s growing quickly.

The CEO of Firework, Vincent Yang told the Quartz that the app is adding about 500,000 users per month, and primarily using the influencer marketing despite of the traditional ads.

As Yand said, “We are trying to focus on our own organic growth, and on partnership side, as compared to TikTok, that has spent nearly $1 billion on advertising in 2019 alone, and in fact the Firework spends just a “few hundred bucks” on the Facebook ads each day, he said.

Firework App A possible Acquisition Target

The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reported that Google discussed acquiring Firework in October. If look at the worth of app, it is currently valued at more than $100 million, but an expected deal could be made for much more. A Chinese microblogging website, Weibo has also expressed interest in acquiring the app. Yang told that he think that  in the next two months, they definitely will have some big thing to announce. He also said that he’s been speaking with both venture firms and private equity firms. A short-video is a hot commodity now-a-days. Another TikTok competitor, Triller in last month reportedly scored $28 million in venture funding. Triller is based in San Francisco, and the music-focused video app has actually 13 million users.

Firework bears a strong resemblance to TikTok

At first look Firework app shows a strong resemblance to TikTok. Both apps actually surface the video content through finely-tuned algorithms. In spite of offering an online communities, where people pick according to their choice, who to follow and often know their connections personally, the app puts the users in front of a firehose of enormous content that was drawn from other users across the world. But Firework customizes a user’s feed based on a few identity markers such as age, gender, interests, and region. Then that the app learns from the users behaviors, how its users browse to show more videos they might enjoy.

But there are few important things which separate Firework from TikTok, that is the length of its videos, and the way its screen rotates, the screen rotation feature known as “Reveal,” and the company’s mostly US roots.

Firework is not available in China

Yang said that Firework does not plan to launch in China, Due to “concerns over privacy, security, and freedom of speech.” When he launched the company, this decision was made. He said that “Because we don’t do business in China, and he already lost a billion [potential users],”

“So, I have to find them elsewhere.”