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With so much attention on TikTok and its uncertain future, now might be a good time to take a look at one of its smaller rivals. Likee, a Singapore-based short-form video brand owned by another Chinese company, Joyy, is shaping up as an increasingly credible TikTok rival. Indeed, as of this June, Likee is reporting over 150 million monthly active users.

While impressive, Likee’s MAU (Monthly Active Users) is significantly short of TikTok numbers. But it’s enough to suggest that Likee might stand to profit should TikTok’s geopolitical strife continue to escalate.

Interestingly, Likee differentiates itself from TikTok by offering creators a chance to make money via virtual gifts from fans, a feature that could play well with influencers who prefer a clearly monetizable model over TikTok, which has been slow to incentivise creators. Many view TikTok as a platform that offers little in the way of tangible rewards to those hoping to foster a livelihood by creating content on the platform. 

But, despite these differences, Likee’s prospects are hamstrung by the very same factors that currently impact its senior rival. As a company with Chinese roots, Likee is suffering the same geopolitical sanctions as TikTok.  Indeed, India – the platform’s biggest market – banned Likee in June, along with TikTok. 

But Joyy has sought to counteract its losses in India by building its presence in the US, where Likee has accumulated 7.25 million downloads, outperforming local TikTok rival Triller.