TikTok is creating a $200 million fund that it will use to retain its top users and attract new ones, signaling another milestone for the growing company.
In a statement Thursday, the video app said the new program aims to “help support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.” TikTok said the fund will start distributing the cash later this year and is one of the few ways users can make money on the app. Previously, users could monetize their accounts only via livestreams or through brand partnerships.
Eligible users must be 18 or older, live in the United States and “consistently” post original videos that comply with TikTok guidelines. Applications to enter the program begin next month, but it’s unclear how many users TikTok will accept or how much money a creator will receive.
A company spokesperson didn’t specify how the money would be disbursed but said that the the $200 million is just the starting amount for the fund, which is aimed at helping the fledgling app stay competitive and retain top talent.
TikTok currently is facing multiple battles, including a possible ban in the United States because of its Chinese ownership over claims that it’s a security risk. The company announced this week it plans to create 10,000 US jobs over the next three years, a substantial increase from the roughly 1,400 employees it currently has in the country.
TikTok has taken other steps to distance itself from China. It recently hired an American CEO and confirmed that its parent company is considering a corporate restructuring, including establishing a headquarters for the video app outside of China.
Rivals are making moves, too. Instagram, owned by Facebook (FB), is launching a TikTok-like function called Reels, which will let people record and edit 15-second videos set to music and audio, and upload them to their stories and Instagram’s Explore feature. YouTube, which lets users monetize their channels, also recently announced its own $100 million fund to “amplify” content from Black users.