All You Need to Know About ByteDance - The World's Most Valued Startup

A survey carried out by TCS in 2011-2012 revealed that the younger generation in India prefer smartphones over television, when it comes to entertainment. Not just India, around the world, today more and more people are turning to their smartphones for entertainment, information and more, and one company that is making the most of this trend is 'ByteDance'. Founded in the year 2012, this technology company has developed many platforms for information, education, inspiration and more, and these platforms are being loved and used by people from all around the world. One of the most popular platforms developed by ByteDance being TikTok , which has over 800 million active users worldwide as on 2019.

In the current scenario, owing to the growing tension between China and many countries in the world, made in China products including apps are being boycotted by many countries like USA, UK, Australia, Philippines, Vietnam and India. Though the growing hate for China has led to ByteDance loosing many users, but form the startup point of view, ByteDance no doubt has done a commendable job, as it rose to be the 'World's most valuable startup', just within 8 years of its inception. This article is a compilation of some important and fascinating facts and figures about ByteDance that you will love to know.

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

Startup Name ByteDance
Headquarter Beijing, China
Founder Zhang Yiming
Founded 9th March, 2012
Industry Internet
Parent Organization ByteDance Ltd.
Website bytedance.com

About ByteDance
ByteDance - Founder & Team
ByteDance - Revenue Model
ByteDance - Funding & Investors
ByteDance - Competitors
ByteDance - Growth
ByteDance - Future Plans

About ByteDance

Based in Beijing China, ByteDance is a multinational internet technology company, and it has developed many popular mobile first products. Some of the popular products of ByteDance’s  include –

  • Douyin is similar as Tiktok and is available in China. Douyin lets its users create short-form mobile videos.
  • Toutiao or Jinri Toutiao, ( meaning today's headlines) is one of the most popular content discovery apps of China. The company’s algorithm is designed to serve customized content to its users.
  • Tiktok – Similar as Douyin that operates in China, Tiktok  is a platform that operates outside China. Tiktok lets its users create various interesting short lip sync, dance, comedy and other videos
  • Xigua – Earlier known as Toutiao video, Xigua video is an app through which users can discover, enjoy and share short  as well as long form videos.
  • Helo – Developed especially for India, Helo app curates content in 15 Indian regional languages and provides customized content to each user.
  • Lark – Collaboration and communication platform Lark makes work easy for a remote team through various features like messenger, video conferencing, cloud storage, calendar and online docs and sheets.

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.

Also Read: List of Banned Chinese Apps in India

ByteDance - Founder and Team

Founder, Chairman and CEO of ByteDance, Zhang Yiming is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. A Chinese national, Zhang Yiming, presently is 37 years old. He completed his graduation (software engineering) from Nankai University in Tianjin. Yiming’s personal wealth is estimated at $13 billion, which makes him the 9th richest man of China.

In the year 2006, Yimimg became the fifth employee and first engineer at the travel website Kuxun. Later he became the technical director at Kuxun. In 2008, Yiming joined Microsoft, however found it tough to cope up with the company rules of Microsoft which made him leave Microsoft to join Fanfou (Twitter clone in China). In 2009, Fanfou was shut down owing to certain controversies, and that very year, Yiming started his very first startup 99fang.com, which is a real estate search portal. Meanwhile, smartphones began to takeover and more and more people started using smartphones, and Yiming could very well see the opportunity underlying it, which made him leave 99fang.com to start ByteDance in 2012.

Currently ByteDance has over 60,000 employees in 126 cities.

ByteDance - Revenue Model

The two major sources of revenue for ByteDance are advertising and in app purchases.

ByteDance - Acquisitions

ByteDance has acquired several companies till date –

  • In 2017, ByteDance acquired ‘Flipgram. Flipagram, Inc. is a place where cropping and editing of videos are made simple along with making a video, adding music to that and making it a film.
  • In November 2017, global news app News Republic,  got acquired by ByteDance.
  • Musical.ly, (a lip-sync video making and sharing platform) is another major acquisition made by ByteDance in 2017. In 2018, ByteDance merged Musical.ly with TikTok.
  • In 2019, ByteDance acquired big data firm Terark.
  • Baike.com, China’s local online encyclopedia was also acquired by ByteDance in 2019.
  • In 2019 itself,  ByteDance acquired Sanghai based mobile game developer, Mokun Technology
  • In Januray 2020, ByteDance acquired LevelupAI, An AI startup that provides AI solutions for Video Game Industry.
  • Baikemy.com, is the latest acquisition by ByteDance. Acquired in May 2020, Baikemy.com is one of China’s largest medical information portals.

Also Read: Top Chinese Investors Of The Startup Ecosystem In India

ByteDance - Funding & Investors

ByteDance has raised funding worth over $ 7.4 billion till date. Below are the details of the funding raised by ByteDance so far -

Date Stage Amount Investors
January, 2012 Series A $5 Million SIG China
January, 2013 Series B Undiclosed Yuri Milner
June, 2014 Series C $100 Million Sequoia Capital China, Source Code Capital, Weibo
April, 2017 Series D $1 Billion K3 Ventures, CCB International, Altimeter Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Qiming Venture Partners
August, 2017 Private Equity Round $2 Billion General Atlantic
October, 2018 Series E $3 Billion General Atlantic, SoftBank,Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Primavera Capital Group
April, 2019 Debt Financing $1.3 Billion Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley
August, 2019 Funding round - GGV Capital
March, 2020 Seconadary Market - Tiger Global Management

ByteDance - Competitors

In China, major Competitors of ByteDance  are Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent.

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 spend in the first half of the year 2019, which is equivalent to $7 billion.

Globally ByteDance is competing with giants like Facebook, Google and Snapchat.

ByteDance - Growth

Many platforms developed by ByteDance has received wide popularity. As estimated by mobile app analytics platform Apptopia , one of ByteDance’s top popular product TikTok’s revenue raised by 310% to over $50 million in the last quarter of 2019.

ByteDance's revenue increased to $ 17 billion in 2019, from $7.4 billion in 2018. Again ByteDance's profit for 2019, is reported to be $3 Billion.

Talking about valuation, ByteDance is reportedly worth over US$100 billion as of May 2020 based on recent prices for the Chinese company's shares on secondary markets, according to the Financial Times. Thus now ByteDance  is valued over one third higher than that in November 2018, when it was valued around $ 75-$78 billion. The company is no doubt growing into a potent online force.

ByteDance - Future Plans

Amidst the corona virus crisis, while many companies are busy cutting down their workforce, ByteDance in April 2020, announced that it is hiring staff to fill 10,000 vacant posts in different domains. In 2020, ByteDance is planning to hire 40,000 employees, in a bid to match Alibaba's headcount. Besides, ByteDance is looking forward to strengthen its position in areas such as e-commerce and gaming. The company is also expected to go public soon.

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About Chayanika Goswami

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