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Tea Leaves

Mysterious algorithms help Vietnam TikTok hit go global

'See Tinh' is fun but endless internet scroll teaches us it's bad to be bored

Vietnamese pop singer Hoang Thuy Linh's song "See Tinh" has gone viral on TikTok, with people around the world from Ecuador to the Philippines uploading videos of themselves dancing to the infectious tune. (Nikkei montage/Source photos by TikTok Vietnam and the LEADER Entertainment Vietnam)

Hoang Thuy Linh, a pop singer with folk influences and a taste for fluorescent outfits, wants to bring Vietnamese music and folklore to the world. She probably did not imagine that it would be channeled through dancing Brazilian soldiers and smack-talking South Korean athletes.

Linh's witty summer hit, "See Tinh," a play on the word "lovesick" in Vietnamese, has taken on a second life in the way that only social media posts can: as a TikTok dance challenge. The company tells me it has had 1.2 billion views of clips tagged #seetinh, mainly by people doing a silly dance to the song.

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