TikTok Emerges as Top-Grossing App Globally Despite Sanctions, data.ai Reports

February 18, 2024 – Despite facing sanctions primarily centered around the United States, TikTok, the international version of Douyin, has emerged as the top-grossing app globally, according to a recent report by data analytics firm data.ai.

The rankings were determined by estimating the in-app purchase revenue from both the Google Play Store and the App Store, with the exception of China, where only App Store revenue was considered.

Launched by ByteDance in 2017, TikTok secured the top spot, with its user spending in 2023 approximately 4.5 times that of 2020. The report suggests that the rapid growth in TikTok’s revenue can be attributed to the widespread adoption of its “tipping” feature. TikTok introduced live streaming in 2020 and added the tipping functionality the following year, which is believed to be the primary driver behind the surge in spending.


Coming in second place was YouTube, likely due to the expansion of its premium membership service, YouTube Premium. This service allows users to skip ads and run other apps simultaneously while watching videos for a monthly fee.

Another Chinese app, Honor of Kings, ranked fifth globally. In the Chinese market specifically, eight out of the top ten grossing apps were games, with TikTok and Tencent Video being the only non-gaming apps to make the cut.

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