TonikTok is Time to sink in as a Western favorite. Last month, it said it had 150 million users in the US, ahead of Instagram and far behind Facebook, the two social networks owned by Meta. It remains a pool of capital for its Chinese parent, ByteDance. Thanks to the lucrative Chinese version of Douyin, ByteDance has been able to be patient with money-losing Western apps. Last year, the technology group’s total operating profit was about $25 billion, much of it domestically. By that measure, it surpassed China’s tech giants Alibaba and Tencent. The gap between Meta’s gross profit per user and the ByteDance app is narrowing — and will shrink even further once TikTok starts making money. Unless, that is, Western politicians act on their threats to ban TikTok on national security grounds.■
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