TikTok Could be Planning Comeback to India After PUBG Mobile: Threat to Instagram Reels?

TikTok was massively popular in India prior to its ban last year, with its Indian user count reportedly close to 300 million back then.


TikTok, the banned short video social media platform owned by Chinese conglomerate Bytedance, is seemingly eyeing a comeback to India. The report comes after Bytedance was found to have filed for a trademark for the term ‘TickTock’ earlier this month, with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. The trademark filing for ‘TickTock’ by Bytedance was first spotted by tipster Mukul Sharma, and has been subsequently verified and reported by many.

The trademark filing was submitted to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, with the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks at the aforementioned ministry. According to the publicly listed data that goes as per the norms and regulations of disclosing trademarks, the ‘TickTock’ mark was granted to Bytedance Ltd on July 6, and is classified under Class 42 of the Trade Mark Rules, 2002.

The trademark filing classification lists it as ‘provision of software application through a website, hosting online web facilities for others for sharing online content, hosting platforms on the internet, electronic data storage, software as a service (SaaS) services, cloud computing’ and other related areas. Bytedance, according to reports, has not yet responded to requests for comments on the matter, or released a statement on whether they are indeed at advanced talks with the government of India to release the app in the country once again.

At the peak of its popularity, TikTok was one of the most popular social media platforms in the country – despite multiple issues being regularly reported about how it handled user guideline policies. At the time of its ban, reports pegged its Indian user base somewhere around 300 million, or almost 30 crore users – a little less than a quarter of India’s entire population. TikTok was often credited with appealing to a wider set of audience in comparison to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – services that are majorly targeted at metropolitan users.

Given that PUBG Mobile has succeeded in returning to India as Battlegrounds Mobile India with very little change at hand, it will be interesting as to what steps does Bytedance take to operate the app in India once again. The company was believed to have been in talks with government authorities multiple times since it was banned, but this is the first concrete sign of a potential comeback for TikTok.