TikTok’s Rise to Global Markets
(8 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
TikTok was a short-video sharing app based in China. On November 9, 2017, TikTok’s parent company, the Chinese tech company Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. (ByteDance), announced a strategic acquisition of Musical.ly, a popular short-video sharing app based in the United States. With more than 100 million users and similar features to TikTok, Musical.ly was a powerful competitor for TikTok’s international expansion into the North American markets. For ByteDance and TikTok, the closing of the Musical.ly acquisition in August 2018 was not the end goal, as it would create another new challenge. Would it be better to keep Musical.ly as a separate platform, as Musical.ly had achieved a good reputation and millions of users in the United States? Or should Musical.ly be replaced to create a global app under the TikTok brand, which was relatively new to the US market?
This case is intended for use in both undergraduate- and graduate-level courses related to digital strategy, global strategy, and international business. By working through the case and assignment questions, students will have the opportunity to do the following:
- Elaborate on the acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue model to analyze the impact of local network effects on digital platform growth.
- Understand the challenges—particularly the liabilities of “outsidership”—that stall network effects when crossing national borders.
- Explore the strategic trade-offs of harnessing global network effects by bringing users together across countries and cultivating local networks in multiple countries.
Information, Media & Telecommunications
Indonesia; Japan; United States; China, Large, 2018
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