Rich Waterworth, General Manager, Europe - TikTok

Against the backdrop of the extraordinary times we're all living through, it's also been a pretty extraordinary year for our business.  

We've been humbled to see how Europe has embraced TikTok during the time we've been here. Today, more than 100m people across the region are active on TikTok every month. TikTok is a home for positive, creative expression - and from beauty, comedy and education, to magic, music and sport, we offer a brand of joyful entertainment that's authentic, relatable, and truly diverse. 

Since we first established our presence in Europe, we've taken a localised approach and sought to become part of the fabric of society here. This is reflected in the incredible wealth of local content and trends emerging on TikTok, including: 

  • TikTok videos created by, and in celebration of, frontline healthcare workers being viewed over 300m times
  • British hip hop duo YoungT and Bugsey, whose career took off when their 'Don't Rush' song served as the backing track to the #DontRushChallenge (800m+ views and counting)
  • Challenges such as #respectmysize in Germany, whose body positivity call-to-action has generated over 21m views
  • Legendary actress Dame Judi Dench going viral with a family TikTok dance routine post-lockdown

In recognition of this thriving ecosystem of local content, we launched our Creator Fund for Europe earlier this month, an investment of approx. €250m over the next three years to help creators turn their creativity into a career. In the space of just two weeks, over 40% of all eligible creators have enrolled, demonstrating just how engaged our creator community is.

At the outset of the global pandemic, we also committed to investing €65m to help those most impacted by the public health crisis. Our work began with supporting healthcare workers across France, Germany, Italy and the UK at the height of the emergency. Now, as we all count the cost of the longer-term societal impacts of Covid-19, we're exploring how we further invest to support specific sectors and organisations significantly affected by the past six months.

In line with the continued growth of our community, we're also continuing to scale our own teams and operations. We now have over 1,600 employees in Europe (approx. 1,300 in the UK and Ireland alone), working across a wide range of areas including brand and creator engagement, commercialisation, music, product, privacy, policy and safety. 

As part of this expansion, we established our EMEA Trust and Safety Hub in Dublin at the start of this year, appointing a range of senior leaders to shape and define an approach to content policy and user safety fully guided by local culture and context. A newly established European data privacy team is also based in Ireland, focused on upholding the highest standards of data protection and overseen by the Office of the Data Protection Officer. We've also announced our intention to establish a data centre in Ireland by 2022, a further $500m investment that will create hundreds of jobs and ultimately become the home of European user data.

TikTok is a community like no other: it's a platform that entertains and informs users, fuels creators' career ambitions and provides unique opportunities for artists and brands to reach and engage with audiences in exciting and unexpected ways.  

Our latest marketing campaign is branded 'It Starts on TikTok' - and for us in Europe, this really is just the start.