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YouTube Clones TikTok For March Launch

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then TikTok must be positively blushing right now.

Shorts is due to arrive in the United States in March, after a successful six-month beta test in India, where the service racked up 3.5 billion daily views. However, it’s worth noting that Chinese-owned TikTok is banned in India, due to ongoing tensions between the world’s two most populous countries. It’s unknown how Shorts will fare in a direct duel with TikTok, but we’ll find out next month when the services go head to head for the first time.

Information about the new service first came out in April last year and YouTube’s proprietary Shorts creation tool arrived in India in September.

YouTube says the number of channels in India that are using its Shorts creation tools have more than tripled, and the Shorts player is now receiving 3.5 billion daily views. The service is still in beta, and for that reason no ads are currently running on the Indian version of Shorts, and they are not yet part of YouTube Premium.

YouTube announced the new service through a new innovation blog from its chief product officer Neal Mohan. “We know there’s still a huge amount of people who find the bar for [traditional YouTube video] creation too high,” Mohan said. “That’s why we’re working on Shorts, our new short-form video tool that lets creators and artists shoot snappy videos with nothing but their mobile phones.”

This month YouTube unveiled its Shorts Report, which included for the first time the news that Shorts will launch in America next month. The Shorts Report is a bi-weekly creator resource publishing product news and best practices to help creators use the new format effectively. According to Shorts Report, there will be a new ‘Shorts shelf’ at the top of the YouTube app’s page for quick access of material.

The move will certainly complicate the world of video influencers over the coming years. TikTok has been remarkably successful in creating new influencers that have since been signed by a variety of licensing agencies, and those agencies have signed up hundreds of licensing and advertising deals over the past year. While TikTok may have a healthy lead in the short video space, it’s worth noting that YouTube parent company Alphabet—which also owns Google – is among the three largest tech companies in the world, with almost bottomless resources.

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