ByteDance's Success Story—World's Most Valued Startup

Chayanika Goswami Chayanika Goswami
Mar 30, 2021 9 min read
ByteDance's Success Story—World's Most Valued Startup

A survey carried out by TCS in 2011-2012 revealed that the younger generation in India prefers 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 of 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 the USA, UK, Australia, Philippines, Vietnam, and India. Though the growing hate for China has led to ByteDance losing many users, but from 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.


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

ByteDance—Founder & Team
ByteDance—Funding & Investors
ByteDance—Future Plans


ByteDance Logo

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 to 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 to 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, the Helo app curates content in 15 Indian regional languages and provides customized content to each user.
  • Lark – Collaboration and communication platform Lark make 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.

ByteDance—Founder & Team

Zhang Yiming | Founder, Chairman, and CEO of ByteDance

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 in 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, which is a real estate search portal. Meanwhile, smartphones began to take over and more and more people started using smartphones, and Yiming could very well see the opportunity underlying it, which made him leave to start ByteDance in 2012.

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

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ByteDance has acquired several companies to 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, the global news app News Republic got acquired by ByteDance.
  •, (a lip-sync video making and sharing platform) is another major acquisition made by ByteDance in 2017. In 2018, ByteDance merged with TikTok.
  • In 2019, ByteDance acquired big data firm Terark.
  •, China’s local online encyclopedia was also acquired by ByteDance in 2019.
  • In 2019 itself,  ByteDance acquired Shanghai based mobile game developer, Mokun Technology
  • In January 2020, ByteDance acquired LevelupAI, An AI startup that provides AI solutions for Video Game Industry.
  •, is the latest acquisition by ByteDance. Acquired in May 2020, is one of China’s largest medical information portals.
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ByteDance—Funding & Investors

ByteDance has raised funding worth over $ 7.4 billion to 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
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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 to 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.

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Many platforms developed by ByteDance have received wide popularity. As estimated by mobile app analytics platform Apptopia, one of ByteDance’s top popular products 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 at around $ 75-$78 billion. The company is no doubt growing into a potent online force.

ByteDance—Future Plans

Amidst the coronavirus 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 strengthening its position in areas such as e-commerce and gaming. The company is also expected to go public soon.

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What does ByteDance mean?

ByteDance is the developer of the video-sharing social networking services and apps TikTok and Douyin, the Chinese-specific counterpart to TikTok.

Who is TikTok owned by?

A US trading firm reportedly owns 15% of TikTok-owner ByteDance, a stake potentially worth more than $15 billion. US trading firm Susquehanna reportedly owns 15% of TikTok-owner ByteDance, a stake that is potentially worth more than $15 billion.

Is ByteDance a good company to work for?

Even though the recent layoff, it's very much satisfying to do a job here. Work culture, management, policies are excellent and I wanna go along with my ByteDance family for many more years.

Is TikTok owned by Chinese government?

TikTok is owned by the Chinese technology giant ByteDance. And while TikTok has taken steps to distance itself from its Beijing parent company, both the Trump administration and some Republicans and Democrats in Congress fear the Chinese Communist Party could use TikTok as a tool to spy on Americans.

How does ByteDance make money?

One obvious way TikTok makes money is by running ads. 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.

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ByteDance is a global tech company which is headquartered at Beijing, China. The company is operating on a range of platforms allowing people to connect across languages, cultures and geographies to create, discover and connect. The company has products mostly in social media applications. The company has a portfolio of applications available in over 150 markets and 75 languages, which includes TikTok, Helo, Douyin, Resso, Lark, Toutiao, and BaBe.

Are you looking to work for ByteDance? They're looking for creative, bold people who embrace ownership and are driven to make a positive impact on the world. If you're excited to collaborate with diverse global teams and lead fast-paced initiatives that make a difference from day one, work with us and challenge yourself to move the world!

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