The video-sharing app has gained a massive following of young users. The challenge will be to turn that popularity into a moneymaking business.

DURING LUNCHTIME AT middle schools across the U.S., adolescents stare at 15- to 60-second clips of their friends lip-synching to Beyoncé on the video-sharing app TikTok. At home, it’s more of the same: Tap on TikTok, scroll through a feed of clips featuring shimmies to Shakira or skateboard stunts, and then pick one to watch.

Even in the annals of viral apps, TikTok is a standout. Since debuting two years ago, it has been downloaded 950 million times—mostly by teens seeking snippets of entertainment or looking to share their own rapping, dancing, or magic skills with the world.

TikTok is so popular in fact that, by one measure, it ranks among a who’s who of tech. During the first

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