TikTok's $250 million pledge to coronavirus relief will support healthcare workers, education, and communities around the world

John Phillips/Getty Images for TechCrunchTikTok president Alex Zhu made the announcement Thursday in a blog post.
  • TikTok, the popular video-sharing app, is pledging $US250 million to organisations providing coronavirus relief, the company’s president Alex Zhu announced Thursday.
  • The $US250 million includes a $US150 million commitment to healthcare and medical workers, as well as $US40 million to local groups “representative of TikTok’s diverse user communities.”
  • Since the coronavirus outbreak started to grow, TikTok has seen increases in downloads and user spending, as people spend more time online and under lockdown orders.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

TikTok has pledged $US250 million to local organisations around the world supporting healthcare, education, and struggling communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a blog post published Thursday, TikTok Global President Alex Zhu detailed the company’s plans to contribute to relief efforts. This pledge is in addition to donations TikTok has already announced and distributed, including $US10 million to the World Health Organisation and $US15 million to the Centre for Disease Control. The company says it plans to provide more details on the organisations it’s supporting in “coming months.”

TikTok’s $US250 million commitment is broken down into three main segments: $US150 million to local organisations funding medical workers, supplies, and healthcare relief; $US50 million in grants to educators and nonprofits to make “creative educational content” and online learning materials for TikTok; and $US40 million to local organisations serving “groups representative of TikTok’s diverse user communities,” including musicians, artists, nurses, and families.

The remaining $US10 million will come from TikTok’s pledge to match $US10 million in donations to local organisations made by its users. A TikTok spokesperson told Business Insider that the company has yet to set up its matching program, but that these donations will be made directly to the organisations.

TikTok also said in its blog post it would be providing $US25 million in ads to “trusted organisations” delivering COVID-19 information, as well as $US100 million in ad credits to companies.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is a Chinese company worth $US75 billion, making it the most valuable private company in the world.

TikTok’s $US250 million pledge is one of the largest donations made by major tech organisations. Facebook has committed $US20 million to match coronavirus relief donations, $US100 million to support news outlets, and $US100 million in grants to help small businesses. Amazon and Microsoft have donated $US1 million each to a Seattle-area rapid response fund, while Apple has pledged $US15 million to relief efforts. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, donated $US100 million to a nonprofit helping food banks feed families in need. Meanwhile, Google has committed to giving $US800 million to support businesses and health organisation.

The single largest contribution from the tech world so far has come from Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square. Dorsey announced this week he was putting $US1 billion worth of his Square equity into a new charity fund focused on COVID-19 relief, which would later transition to funding girls’ health and education after the pandemic has been contained. Twitter itself has pledged $US1 million to journalism nonprofits.

More than 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, and nearly 90,000 related deaths have been recorded. Millions around the world are under quarantine and shelter-in-place orders to stymie the spread of the virus. The lockdown in Wuhan, China, was recently lifted.

TikTok’s app, known for the viral, short-form videos its users create, has seen a surge in popularity in recent weeks as countries are placed under quarantine and people are adjusting to life indoors. TikTok saw app downloads and user spending spike in March, according to numbers provided by mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower. TikTok itself has put together livestreamed programming featuring creators and celebrities, and has emphasised official COVID-19 information from the Centre for Disease Control and WHO.

Users have also filled TikTok with light-hearted content providing an alternative to coronavirus news, including doctors taking dance breaks, people sharing DIY fashion and home renovation projects, and quarantined families making creative uses of their time at home together.

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