Lemon8: TikTok parent company’s latest app hits top 10 in US charts

The ByteDance logo is seen at the entrance to the company’s office in Beijing on 8 July, 2020 (Getty Images)
The ByteDance logo is seen at the entrance to the company’s office in Beijing on 8 July, 2020 (Getty Images)

An app launched by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has become one of the most popular apps in the US just one month after its release.

Lemon8 ranked among the top 10 most downloaded apps on the US App Store’s Top Charts this week, despite never before ranking in the top 200.

The surge in popularity comes amid a crackdown against its sister app TikTok, which could face a total ban in the US after lawmakers raised concerns about alleged Chinese interference and data collection.

Lemon8 has been touted as a competitor to Meta’s Instagram, describing itself as a “content sharing platform with a youthful community” that is “THE destination for sharing and exploring”.

ByteDance has reportedly paid popular influencers to post content on Lemon8 in order to boost its reach, while app store intelligence firm Data.ai said this week that the sudden surge in popularity was likely the result of a paid user acquisition efforts.

Figures cited by TechCrunch suggest the app currently has more than 4 million monthly active users around the world.

The tech publication also noted that several TikTok creators have been posting “extremely positive reviews” about Lemon8 in recent days despite not being marked as sponsored content.

“It’s so f***ing cute,” said Gabrielle Victor, who has 435,000 followers on TikTok. “It’s like Pinterest and Instagram came together and had a baby, with like a sprinkle of TikTok on top of that... I’m going to be posting on there every single day.”

Other TikTok users suggested that the spike in interest in Lemon8 on TikTok was suspicious given the recent controversy surrounding the Chinese-owned app,

“Is it a conspiracy that I’ve seen so many of these [Lemon8] videos back to back to back with the TikTok ban being in the news right now?” questioned Alexandra Brumfield.

Last week, TikTok CEO Shou Chew appeared before Congress to face questions relating to privacy and national security concerns, though efforts to ban the hugely popular app appear to be moving forward.

Mr Chew revealed that there are now more than 150 million active users of TikTok in the US, making it one of the most popular apps in the country.