TikTok’s CEO wowed Singapore with his US House performance – has he also boosted the brand’s image?

Samuel TanAPAC Data Journalist / B2B Content Manager
April 18, 2023, 6:45 AM GMT+0

On March 23, TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi appeared before the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee to address privacy and security concerns around the video sharing platform’s handling of user data.

Over five hours, Chew attempted to convince US lawmakers that TikTok, owned by Beijing-based tech firm ByteDance, does not share its American users’ data with the Chinese Communist Party. Under China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law, businesses in China are required to confidentially support state intelligence work (Article 7), which may extend outside the country’s borders (Article 10).

Accordingly, Chew sought to dispel concerns that he would be legally bound to assist with Chinese government requests by highlighting TikTok’s ‘Project Texas’ initiative to have all of its US data stored by American software company Oracle on servers in the US state of Texas by the end of this year – and emphasizing his Singaporean citizenship.

Chew’s performance in the US Congress has since been widely lauded in Singapore across numerous media channels: from mainstream news reports (Channel NewsAsia, Straits Times) to online publications (Mothership, Rice Media, Marketing Interactive).

But have these plaudits driven a significant boost in Singaporean consumers’ perception of TikTok’s brand?

Has consumer impression towards TikTok in Singapore grown more positive since the US Congressional hearing?

Latest data from YouGov BrandIndex shows that TikTok’s net Impression score (which measures whether more consumers have a positive or negative impression of a brand) in Singapore rose to +8.7% on the day of Chew’s testimony before the US House Committee (March 23) – up by almost five percentage points from the day before.

After maintaining largely the same score for the next four days, general impression of TikTok started to climb again from March 27 to +14.2% on March 29 (up 5.7%), declined over the last few days of March to +9.2% on April 1 (down 5%), before starting on an upward trend thereafter.

By April 3, net consumer impression of TikTok in Singapore rose to +18.9%, around 10 percentage points higher compared to March 23.

Among TikTok users in Singapore, TikTok’s net Impression score rose to +43.1% on the day of Chew’s testimony – up by almost eleven percentage points from the day before.

After a brief dip to +40.3% on March 26, Singapore TikTok users’ impression of the brand started on a clear upward trend, climbing to +49.2% on March 29 (up 8.9%) and +57.6% on April 1 (up another 8.4%).

By April 3, net impression of TikTok among its Singapore users reached +60.8%, almost 18 percentage points higher compared to March 23.

Latest data from YouGov Profiles shows that around three in eight consumers (37%) in Singapore are members of TikTok, as of early April 2023.

TikTok is significantly more popular among younger consumers, particularly Gen Z (aged 14-26 this year), where just over half (51%) are users.

What do TikTok users in Singapore think about data privacy and government regulation of social media companies?

Data from YouGov Profiles also reveals that while around three in ten (29%) of TikTok users in Singapore say they “don’t worry much about privacy when using the internet”, more than two in five (43%) do. This is largely comparable with the average Singapore consumer.

Additionally, close to two in five (38%) of TikTok users in Singapore think that “government shouldn’t get to tell privately owned social media companies how to operate”, while just 17% think that the government should regulate how social media companies operate. However, a sizeable 45% are currently undecided on this.

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Methodology: YouGov BrandIndex collects data on thousands of brands every day. Impression scores are based on the following question: “Overall, of which of the following brands do you have a positive/negative impression?” (Net score). Figures are based on a 2-week moving average. Learn more about BrandIndex.

YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Singapore is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender and ethnicity. Learn more about Profiles.

Photo Credit: Tasos Katopodis