The Rise of Chinese-Owned Mobile Apps in the US and UK

In recent weeks, TikTok, the most downloaded free app in the US, has faced scrutiny over alleged links to the Chinese Communist Party. But TikTok is not the only Chinese-owned app taking the Western world by storm.

The Rise of Chinese-Owned Mobile Apps in the US and UK
(Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In fact, analytics firm Apptopia estimates that three of the top 10 free mobile apps in the US are also Chinese-owned, and two of them are among the most downloaded in the UK. So, what are these apps, and why are Chinese apps so successful?

CapCut: The Perfect Companion Editor for TikTok

CapCut, a video editing Chinese app, is often marketed as a companion editor for TikTok content creators. According to Sensor Tower, it was downloaded 13 million times in February alone. CapCut is optimized for mobile editing and offers a variety of features, such as adding popular songs, filters, and special effects, designed to make videos go viral. It is owned by ByteDance, the same parent company as TikTok.

Shein: The Fast-Growing Global Fashion Brand

Shein, a global fashion brand founded by Chinese billionaire Chris Xu, boasts a nearly $15 billion valuation, according to Forbes. It targets GenZ users through social media with new products added daily at low-cost prices. Influencers on TikTok and Instagram are raving about their recent #Sheinhaul, and the brand is making its way into the mainstream.

Temu: The Online Superstore that Outpaced Amazon and Walmart

Temu, a shopping app that debuted in the US less than a year ago, has already outpaced Amazon and Walmart. The online superstore sells everything from apparel to electronics, and it allows consumers to buy directly from the Chinese manufacturer. The prices are so low that many Americans were searching “is Temu legit” after the company ran an ad during this year’s Super Bowl. The app is a subsidiary of PDD Holdings, a Chinese-owned online retail giant that specializes in direct-to-consumer products, and it is headquartered in Boston, MA.

The Secret to Popular Chinese App Success

Experts say that the success of popular Chinese apps in the US and UK is partly due to the intense competition in the Chinese domestic market, where US apps are banned. Chinese tech companies have had to develop highly tailored recommendation algorithms, such as those used by TikTok and WeChat, to meet the needs of their users.

However, concerns have been raised that Chinese-owned apps could be vulnerable to data privacy breaches and censorship from the Chinese Communist Party. This has led the European Commission, the UK, and Canada to ban TikTok from the phones of government employees. US lawmakers and national security experts have also warned of potential risks.

The Need for Comprehensive Data Privacy Laws

According to author Paul Scherer, until US lawmakers pass comprehensive data privacy laws, any app could be vulnerable to data breaches, regardless of the country of ownership. While there is a danger of a knee-jerk reaction that anything Chinese is bad, people should be skeptical of all apps and the amount of data they give up without fully understanding how it is being used.


Chinese-owned apps are making their mark in the US and UK. The success of these popular Chinese apps is due to the intense competition in the Chinese domestic market and the tailored algorithms they have developed. However, concerns over data privacy and censorship from the Chinese Communist Party are valid, and comprehensive data privacy laws are needed to protect users from potential data breaches.

(With Inputs from BBC)

Also Read: KSI Apologizes for Racial Slur, Takes a Break From Social Media

A Techie who formed an obsession with Blogging, SEO, and Digital Marketing. Founder of

Leave a Comment