TikTok makes education push in India

Chinas TikTok today launched an education program in India as the popular short-video app looks to expand its offering and assuage local authority in one of its biggest markets.
TkTok, owned by the worlds most valued startup Bytedance, said its working with a number of content creators and firms to populate the platform with educational videos. These bite-sized clips cover a range of topics from school-level science and math concepts to learning new languages. The social app is also featuring videos that offer health and mental awareness, share life tips, and offer motivation.
The social platform, which is used by more than 200 million users in India every month, said its education program is aimed at democratizing learning for the Indian digital community on the platform.
It has partnered with edtech startups Vedantu, Toppr, Made Easy, GradeUp that will produce educational content for TikTok. It is also collaborating with social enterprises Josh Talks and the Nudge Foundation to mentor 5,000 people across India. An executive with Josh Talks said the firm has been able to reach more than 35 million users in less than two months on TikTok, far more users than it has attracted on other platforms.
Sachin Sharma, Director of Sales and Partnerships at TikTok, said the social apps foray into education is a response to the demand it has seen from users. Educational videos are some of the most popular and engaging videos on the platform, he said at a press conference in New Delhi.
In recent months, more than 10 million educational videos have been created and shared on TikTok, where they have garnered over 48 billion views, Sharma claimed. He did not reveal the financial structure of TikToks deal with its creator partners.
As video consumption booms in India, thanks in part to the availability of cheap data and proliferation of low-cost Android smartphones, a growing number of edtech startups have emerged in India to deliver their catalog online.
Eight-year-old startup Byjus, which offers a learning app, has seen its customer base balloon in recent years. The startup, valued at over $5.75 billion, had about 35 million users as of three months ago.
Educational content is also more attractive to advertisers, which should help TikTok explore better monetization options in the future, analysts said.
Expansion to e-learning would also help the startup improve its image with local authority. The app has already come under fire a couple of times in India. Earlier this year, an Indian court banned TikTok, alleging that it was hosting and promoting pornographic and other illicit content. The ban was later lifted.
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