How the company behind TikTok became the worlds most valuable startup

what is bytedance

At just 10 years old, ByteDance, the most valuable startup in the world, has shattered records for growth. In 2021, with 1.9 billion monthly active users in 150 countries, and an employee base of over 110,000, the company recorded an astonishing $58 billion in revenues. Most users know the company only by its hit short-video app TikTok, which has been downloaded over 3 billion times globally, a feat only exceeded by Meta and its family of apps.

what is bytedance

Since it launched in 2012, Toutiao has accumulated hundreds of millions of daily active users who are hooked on its personalized blend of articles. In 2016 ByteDance released the video-sharing app Douyin, exclusively for users in China. The popularity of Douyin in China inspired the team to develop TikTok for international audiences. TikTok is an app platform that allows users to post short-form videos and share content from their cell phones. TikTok uses advanced algorithmic methods to predict which videos users will enjoy and thus create a personalized assortment of videos for them to peruse on their “For You” page (FYP).

Perhaps the company’s most famous app is Douyin which was launched in 2016. In July 2018, ByteDance said Douyin and TikTok had 500 million monthly average users (MAUs). That number could now be higher because the company said in January that Douyin alone had 500 million MAUs in China. The incident prompted Zhang to publicly apologize for “publishing a product that collided with core socialist values,” and it highlights the potential pitfalls of operating online platforms in China. Tencent has had its clashes with the government, too, most recently being hit by restrictions on video game releases and play time. But if Bytedance can make the most of what appears to be a greater agility in operating overseas, that could be a key advantage for the younger company.

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The company also developed the Indian social media app Hello, as well as the popular Indonesian news aggregator Baca Berita (BaBe). The Chinese giant is now one of the most valuable private technology firms in the world, reportedly worth $75 billion, and owns a variety of apps from news aggregators to social media services. ByteDance, Chinese technology company that developed novel video-sharing social networking applications, most notably TikTok.

Bytedance is, in fact, locked in a fierce rivalry with Tencent, in particular. Zhang and Tencent founder Pony Ma have jabbed at each other in public, and the companies have filed multiple lawsuits against one another. ByteDance is the developer of the video-sharing social networking services and apps TikTok and Douyin, the Chinese-specific counterpart to TikTok.

Approximately a year later, ByteDance accelerated globalization with the launch of its global short video product, TikTok. It quickly took off in markets like Southeast Asia, signaling a new opportunity for the company. ByteDance acquired in November 2017 and subsequently merged it with TikTok. Today, the TikTok platform, which is available outside of China, has become the leading destination for short-form mobile videos worldwide.

what is bytedance

TikTok recently attained the traditional social network rite of passage of having Facebook brazenly rip it off. And Bytedance’s news services inevitably risk running into the same algorithmic pitfalls that have plagued Facebook for years; the company’s apps have been accused of spreading fake news in countries such as India and beyond. The first product the group produced was the app Neihan Duanzi (“profound gags”), which allowed users to share jokes and memes. This was followed by the news aggregator app Toutiao, which used machine and deep learning algorithms to deliver a personalized news feed to users. Toutiao became an early flagship of ByteDance and continues to have more than 300 million monthly active users.

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Besides, ByteDance is looking forward to strengthening its position in areas such as e-commerce and gaming. In March, its subsidiary Lark Technologies launched a product called Lark, a productivity and workplace collaboration tool. In 2018, ByteDance hit the lower end of its revenue target of 50 billion to 55 billion yuan ($7.2 billion to $7.9 billion), according to a Bloomberg report. The company lost $1.2 billion last year, reported digital media firm The Information.

  1. In 2021, with 1.9 billion monthly active users in 150 countries, and an employee base of over 110,000, the company recorded an astonishing $58 billion in revenues.
  2. It’s looking to expand beyond those services to potentially new areas like smartphones, as it looks for further growth areas — but analysts said that could be a tough task.
  3. The first product the group produced was the app Neihan Duanzi (“profound gags”), which allowed users to share jokes and memes.
  4. In 2022 Forbes technology reporter Emily Baker-White claimed that she had been spied on and tracked by ByteDance after writing an article critical of TikTok.
  5. The company is operating on a range of platforms allowing people to connect across languages, cultures and geographies to create, discover and connect.

ByteDance’s revenue increased to $ 17 billion in 2019, from $7.4 billion in 2018. ByteDance took a larger piece of the digital advertising market than fellow Chinese companies like Tencent and Baidu during the first half of 2019. ByteDance has overtaken Baidu to become the second-largest performer in China. ByteDance took 23% of all digital media to spend in the first half of the year 2019, which is equivalent to $7 billion.

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Bytedance believes that its algorithmic approach to content could work around the world, and it has developed Toutiao-like apps for other markets. Helo, for example, is a similar product aimed at India with support for 14 local vernaculars, and TopBuzz does a similar thing in English. But so far, its highest-profile efforts in Western markets have focused on creative communities. The company bought short movie-making app Flipagram last year and rebranded it as Vigo Video, then followed up by acquiring to merge with its similar service Douyin. Bytedance reportedly even tried to buy Reddit in 2016, but it was rebuffed. ByteDance products have faced government-led investigations and large-scale bans in other countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Turkey.

This has been true not only for TikTok but many of its other apps, which have vast numbers of users. In this article, the authors explain the many ways in which ByteDance has used its SSP to fuel development and growth. TikTok does not have advertising yet, but a January report from online trade magazine Digiday said ByteDance is now starting to test ads on the platform, which could open a new revenue stream internationally. Users can buy virtual currency which they then gift to content creators.

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The company’s most notable achievement is in gaining its level of success without being propped up by any of the country’s internet mega-giants like Tencent, Alibaba, or Baidu. Alibaba was turned down this year after expressing interest in an investment or acquisition, according to Reuters, while Tencent is said to have divested itself of a small stake in Bytedance some time ago. ByteDance is part of a growing number of Chinese companies setting its sights on overseas markets including the U.S.

The app enjoyed early success with young Internet users, and its user base grew substantially in 2017, when ByteDance acquired the popular video-sharing app, which it merged with TikTok in 2018. Much of TikTok’s popularity came from viral videos that were shared by Internet influencers and social media stars who had millions of followers. TikTok’s popularity also increased considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic, as millions of housebound social media users turned to their phones for entertainment. In 2020 ByteDance released CapCut, a video-editing software with more than 200 million monthly active users.

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In June of 2020, the popular video-sharing app launched TikTok for Business as a way for brands to run their own ads within the app. There are several types of TikTok ads, including In-Feed ads, Brand Takeovers, and Branded Hashtag Challenges. Besides these, there are several other platforms by ByteDance like, BaBe, which is Indonesia’s leading news and content app, Gogokid –  an English learning platform for kids, and Vigo Video – a video-making app. However, as per recent reports (June 2020), ByteDance is set to shut down Vigo Video in India. Earlier this month, TechCrunch reported that ByteDance was exploring a music streaming service with a subscription option and ad-supported free tier. The Financial Times also reported that ByteDance was looking to launch its own smartphone pre-loaded with apps that the company makes.

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