Despite ongoing national security concerns surrounding ByteDance's ties to China, the tech giant's latest mobile app, Lemon8, is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States. This demonstrates the powerful influence Chinese apps wield over American users, even in the face of growing skepticism about China's intentions.
Targeting a Gen Z audience, Lemon8 offers a blend of TikTok-style videos and Instagram-like photos. The app features a personalized "For You" feed alongside a "Following" feed that showcases posts from accounts that users have chosen to follow. Unlike TikTok, Lemon8 allows users to upload still photos and leans more toward artsy, colorful, and aspirational content, reminiscent of Pinterest.
The app has attracted early adopters who enjoy health and beauty trends, such as makeup tutorials, nail art, and home decor inspiration. With limited ads currently, Lemon8's lifestyle content could potentially attract brands in retail, travel, and cooking.
Since its launch in March 2020, Lemon8 has been installed 17 million times globally, with 650,000 installations in the US within the last week and a half. Japan is its largest market, accounting for 36.5% of its lifetime downloads, while it also enjoys a significant following in Asia and Southeast Asia.
ByteDance's Lemon8 is determined to continue its expansion in the US market, despite debates surrounding the future of TikTok in the country.