TikTok has appointed Nikhil Gandhi as India head as the popular short-video Chinese app doubles down on its fastest and most competitive market. Based out of Mumbai, Gandhi will lead the development of TikTok’s products and operations in India. His last job was as President and COO at Times Network.
Gandhi will lead the development of TikTok’s products and operations in India. Since late 2017, TikTok has been investing in product, building a team, and enabling community growth in India. “As India TikTok head, he will prioritize key initiatives, such as #EduTok, that benefit the community,” TikTok said.
TikTok had said it has 200 million users in India of which 120 million are active on a monthly basis.
“I am excited to be part of TikTok’s journey in India at a time when it is strengthening its overall presence in the country and building a platform that enables creative expression,” Gandhi said.
TikTok which is giving tough competition to Facebook, YouTube and other emerging Chinese competitors in India, is also facing some challenges from the government side with respect to problematic content on its platform and alleged data sharing with China.
TikTok started monetising its app in India earlier in the year and has seen great traction among consumer and internet brands looking to reach TikTok users in smaller towns and villages in India.
TikTok and its parent ByteDance have made multiple hires in India this year. Sachin Sharma, former head of online sales at LinkedIn, joined ByteDance as Director, Sales and Brand Partnership, in February. In June, Nitin Saluja joined as Director, Public Policy from Facebook.
Prior to Times Network, Nikhil was at The Walt Disney Company for 9 years. He also did stints at UTV Global Broadcasting and Viacom Media Networks.
The battle between Facebook and TikTok is intensifying in India as it remains the last large open Internet market in the world. Facebook is estimated to have 290 million users, according to market research portal Statista compared to the relatively new entrant TikTok’s 200 million users in India.
TikTok was the most downloaded social media app worldwide in September with close to 60 million installs, according to data intelligence firm SensorTower. India accounted for 44% of those total installs of the app during this period.
Facebook on the other hand was the second most installed social media app worldwide last month with more than 50.5 million installs in September with India accounting for 23% of those installs.