The popular music app TikTok searches for users in new markets. This is apparent from an internal memo that the Reuters news agency has seen.

Zhang Yiming, CEO of TikTok's parent company ByteDance, wants the company to focus more on users in markets where the app is less known. Yiming also speaks out in the memo to better protect user data.

TikTok is especially a big hit in China and India. The memo therefore implies that Yiming wants to shift the focus from China to the west.

The music app is now growing in popularity among American children, creating tension between Washington and Beijing - where ByteDance is located. Yiming did not specifically mention this tension in the memo, but writes that he wants to deal better with global public affairs.

Censorship and privacy concerns

Earlier this month, six former employees told The Washington Post that the Chinese parent company ByteDance "had a major influence" on TikTok's content policy. According to the sources of the newspaper that worked at the company until the beginning of this year, decisions were regularly imposed by the parent company.

This would include hiding or removing videos in which there was a political debate or videos in which two people extensively kissed each other.

The concern was that TikTok would release data from users to the Chinese government if Beijing asked for it. The New York Times asked the founder of TikTok, Alex Zhu, if this was the case. He responded with a resolute "no".

He also says that the music app does not censor videos that China cannot agree with and does not share data with China or with parent company ByteDance.