TikTok row pushes companies in Japan into marketing dilemma
Nikkei -- Sep 22
The political friction between the U.S. and China over TikTok raises strategic questions for Japanese businesses that use the popular video-sharing app in advertising to young consumers.

High user engagement is among the platform's greatest strengths. Posts under a popular hashtag may draw over one hundred million views, and brands have seen success with "hashtag challenges" encouraging viewers to upload videos of themselves performing a particular task, tagged with a certain phrase.

But data security fears tied to Beijing plague the app in the U.S., with Washington threatening a ban. Chinese operator ByteDance recently agreed to hive off its international operations under a new subsidiary partly owned by Oracle and Walmart. Similar worries have arisen in Japan, and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has discussed restrictions on Chinese apps, apparently with platforms like TikTok in mind.

Companies are responding in different ways. Coca-Cola (Japan), which had used the platform for marketing, stopped posting new content there in July after its American parent halted social media activity.

But Kao, a household goods manufacturer, said it continues to use TikTok after receiving assurances from the Japanese arm of ByteDance that it does not collect users' personal information.

Beverage maker Suntory Holdings will keep using the platform "for the time being while paying attention to various circumstances," a company representative said.

Cosmetics producer Shiseido, when asked about the potential for leaks of user information on TikTok, replied that it is "not in a position to comment." Sony, whose group companies post music and ads for anime on the platform, said it "cannot respond at this time."

News sources: Nikkei