It has been widely reported that ByteDance, the Beijing-based digital entertainment and information company, had impressive 2019 revenue and earnings. ByteDance had revenue of $17 billion in 2019, up from $7.4 billion in 2018. In the first half of 2019 ByteDance is reported to have had revenue equal to or exceeding the whole year of 2018. According to the same reports, ByteDance’s profit was $3 billion for 2019. It is also reported that they have over $6 billion in cash available for investment and growth initiatives. As a privately held company, ByteDance does not officially release their financial data and I was not able to get a comment from ByteDance regarding their financials.
ByteDance has been reported to have a valuation over $100 billion and as high as $180 billion. ByteDance has announced that they have over 60,000 employees in 126 cities.
ByteDance owns TikTok, which is their non-Chinese mobile app which allows consumers to make short videos and share with the millions of users on TikTok. TikTok is headquartered in Los Angeles. Kevin Mayer, the former Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International at Disney DIS, announced last week that he was going to ByteDance as COO of the whole company, and CEO of TikTok.
TikTok is reported to have over 800 million daily active users which compares to 1.73 billion daily active users for Facebook, who reported that number this year.
ByteDance has a number of core products that use artificial intelligence to choose content that will be shared with readers whether it is in their news and information content product, Toutiao, or their entertainment apps, particularly Douyin and TikTok. Douyin is a mobile app launched in China by ByteDance in 2016 focused on consumer-generated short videos.
Much of the revenue for ByteDance comes from advertising and in-app purchases, both areas with a lot of room for growth, plus ByteDance’s user numbers continue to grow rapidly. ByteDance was founded in 2012. ByteDance has raised money from funds like Softbank, KKR KKR, Sequoia, General Atlantic, Hillhouse Capital Group, Coatue, SIG Asia Investment, and Source Code Capital. Knowledgeable sources have indicated to me that there are also some influential Internet-related investors from around the world, invested in ByteDance, some at a very early valuation. This will be a company that will be closely watched for an IPO or other liquidity event.