TikTok, the social media platform of Chinese group Bytedance, will open an office in Belgium, reports Le Soir. The company is following in the steps of the other tech giants, such as Google and Facebook, who also opened branches in the country as part of their European market growth strategy.
TikTok's European operations are based in London, however, on 8 August, it has been confirmed that a subsidiary is set to open in Brussels.
TikTok's mission in Belgium states that the office will work on "the development, marketing, supply and sale of products and/or services related to the internet and internet advertising."
It looks likely that the Belgian office will be used to get more advertisers and obtain increased support from Belgian companies, many of whom already advertising on TikTok.
A growing audience
The social media's fast-growing audience is evident in Belgium. 13,1% of Belgians over 15 have used platform within the last seven day, according to a 2022 Eurobarometer study, which is some 1.2 million Belgians.
Most of the audience consists of young people who are fans of the app. In terms of demographics, 45.5% of TikTok users are between 15 and 24, while 14.1% are between 25 and 39-years-old.
Many brands continued to be intrigued by the success of TikTok given its popularity with the younger age group. Previously, Facebook used to the be the platform of choice, but young people have abandoned Facebook as they view it as "irrelevant" and "outdated", according to AFP.
There are several reasons for why advertisers are interested in TikTok, according to Matthieu Vercruysse, social media manager for advertising company Ogilvy. It firstly comes down to a growing audience.
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"It has extended to the higher age groups, well beyond 25 years. For certain areas of interest – cooking, cycling… – TikTok goes so far as to reach 40-50 year olds. It's not just a dance video platform for teenage girls anymore," Vercruysse said in Le Soir.
TikTok is positioning itself as not just a social network but also an interest-based entertainment platform, which is of interest to brands, according to Vercruysse.
"The content that will be offered is more related to areas of interest than on Facebook or Instagram which first highlight the publications of friends", explained Matthieu Vercruysse.
Moreover, brands are attracted to TikTok, as it is now the trendsetter due to young people flocking to it. "Tiktok is the one who sets the tone, who innovates, who launches new talent. It is the leader on the cultural format. The proof is that it is copied by Instagram."
Found in China in 2016, TikTok is rapidly expanded and it is now the sixth most popular social network globally. Its short and addictive format are so successful that Meta, the number one social network which owns Facebook and Instagram, has started copying TikTok. In the first quarter of 2022, TikTok had over 1.39 billion active users around the world.