YouTube will be testing its new short-form video feature in India, where ByteDance-owned TikTok - often credited for popularising the format - has been banned since June.
The new feature, called Shorts, will be part of YouTube's existing app and allow creators to "shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones", the Alphabet-owned video-sharing platform said in a post on its official blog.
Digital media site The Information first reported in April that YouTube was developing a TikTok-like feature with a feed of super-short videos that will act as an alternative to longer vlogs and clips that appear on YouTube.
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In the blog post on Monday, YouTube revealed that the new feature will allow content creators to record videos up to 15 seconds long with music from a large library of songs. Just like on TikTok, creators will also be able to control the speed of their videos and film hands-free using a timer and countdown, while users can swipe vertically between videos.
An early beta version of the product will be launched "over the next few days in India", YouTube said, adding that it will introduce more features and launch the feature in more countries in the coming months.
Shorts is among a slew of TikTok alternatives that have emerged as the wildly popular Chinese-owned app faces headwinds internationally.
TikTok was banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps in June, weeks after a deadly Himalayan border clash between China and India. The country was the short video app's biggest international market, with at least 120 million monthly active users reported before the ban. Japan's SoftBank Group is considering assembling a group of bidders to acquire TikTok's assets in India, Bloomberg reported earlier this month, citing people familiar with the matter.
In the US, another major market for TikTok, the Trump administration has ordered ByteDance to sell its assets as early as Tuesday, citing data privacy and national security concerns. Oracle Corp confirmed on Monday that it has reached a deal to become TikTok's "technology partner", pending a review by US regulators.
The global pushback against TikTok has paved the way for competitors to gain greater market share. Facebook has launched its own short-form video service, Reels, within Instagram in 50 markets including the US and India. Other competitors like Los Angeles-based Triller and Singapore-based Likee have also recently seen their popularity rise with TikTok's recent troubles.
The four most popular video-sharing apps after TikTok in the US collectively accounted for 44 per cent of the market in August, almost double from 24 per cent in January, according to a blog post earlier this month by analytics firm Sensor Tower.
Among these, Triller and Likee have consistently ranked among the top five most-downloaded each month since January, "marking them as potential front runners in the race for a share of TikTok's audience", Sensor Tower added.
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