The TikTok logo is pictured outside the company’s U.S. headquarters in Culver City, California, as of September 2020. Mike Blake, Reuters / file

TikTok’s installs jumped 35% in May from the previous month, continuing its streak as the world’s most downloaded non-game app, according to mobile market analysis firm Sensor Tower.

However, downloads of the viral short video app were down 29% year-on-year, below its record 112 million downloads last May. In June of last year, the app was banned in India, its first overseas market at the time.

Figures include the international TikTok app and the Chinese version called Douyin, both owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. The biggest market for new installations last month was Brazil, with 16%, followed by Douyin in China with 12%, according to Sensor Tower.

The United States was TikTok’s second largest market from December through March, but it fell outside the top two in April, according to Sensor Tower.

TikTok has faced a political backlash in the United States since last summer, when then-President Donald Trump threatened to ban the app unless ByteDance divests itself of its US operations, Oracle and Walmart intended to acquire.

The current administration of President Joe Biden has suspended the lawsuit against TikTok, but it is still reviewing US policy towards Chinese apps.

Tensions have led ByteDance to delay plans for an initial public offering. The nine-year-old startup, currently the world’s most valuable unicorn, is struggling to formulate a business structure that would appeal to Beijing and Washington, sources told the South China Morning Post in April.

Challenges in the United States have also led to the abrupt departure of TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, who resigned last summer after just three months on the job. ByteDance’s new CFO, Chew Shou Zi, was appointed CEO of TikTok at the end of April.

When ByteDance first hired Chew as CFO in March, the company was getting close to a public listing. As Xiaomi’s chief financial officer and president of international affairs, Chew oversaw the smartphone giant’s Hong Kong IPO in 2018.

Prior to Xiaomi, Chew worked for DST Global, where he helped the venture capital firm invest in ByteDance in 2013.


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