The US Won't Ban TikTok Any Time Soon - Here's Why.

Ariel Ariel
3/24/23

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - The Ban That Isn't Coming. Check out the full article for more insights.


The US has been talking about banning Chinese-owned TikTok for a few years now. It got tense there for a minute in 2020, but it wasn't banned after all.

Congress continued to try, but no ban was in sight until the end of 2022 when the US banned TikTok on government devices. A small but interesting move that serves very little to prevent usage data from leaving US borders as TikTok's data collection extends far beyond its flagship apps.

Things started looking a bit grimmer yesterday, after Congress, again, highlighted the tight relationship between TikTok and China.

But just like in previous episodes, I don't expect a ban to actually take place for one very big reason.

Money!

Money talks, and in politics, money screams. TikTok makes a lot of that from the US. Not only that, the rate at which revenue from its iOS apps is growing is so high it's as if the company is printing money.

According to our app intelligence, TikTok's App Store net revenue, not including revenue from China, was just a rounding error away from $1,000,000,000 in 2022. That's a billion dollars. And that's after TikTok pays Apple for the privilege of being in the App Store.

I specifically chose to focus on the App Store and include all countries except for China because TikTok's main revenue driver is the US, and if it's banned here it'll likely get banned in other countries. We've seen that happen with the government ban which was quickly picked up by the UK and immediately after, New Zealand.

But that's not all. In 2021, TikTok's net revenue from the App Store was "just" $256M. I say "just" because while very high, that's only a quarter of 2022's haul.

That kind of growth gives TikTok a lot of "flexibility" in dealing with a potential ban + a big incentive to not let it happen by any means.

Note - This insight only looks at the revenue TikTok earns directly through its app which is a fraction of its total revenue. The conclusion isn't any different though.

App Intelligence for Everyone!

The insights in this report come right out of our App Intelligence platform, which offers access to download and revenue estimates, installed SDKs, and more! Learn more about the tools or schedule a demo with our team to get started.

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.


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