Without a shadow of a doubt TikTok is the fastest growing and most valuable startup in the world right now.
In 2018, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance recorded revenues of about $7.4 billion. This past year it has more than doubled to over $17 billion, showing it is still growing at an immense rate. It netted more than $3 billion in profit in the period and is sitting on more than $6 billion in cash at the moment.
The company has been a big surprise to many, pulling big traffic and therefore advertisers away from traditional tech giants in China, like Baidu and Tencent Holdings, as well as internationally. It hosts about 1.5 billion monthly active users in a suite of apps, headlined by TikTok.
According to Singapore-based research firm DZT, ByteDance could fetch between $150 billion and $180 billion in an IPO. That would place it in the upper echelons of public offerings, and at a relative premium compared to Chinese based competition. This is due a larger global footprint and growing games business.
The company is also diversifying quickly. In 2019 they released a TikTok smartphone, which helps creators make and upload those short-form videos quicker and more simply than ever before.
The video platform is extremely popular with young users, which means ByteDance could have a viable audience for a very long time if they are kept engaged. It is also growing in popularity among South Africa’s youth very quickly, prompting MTN to offer TikTok data bundles.
Short-form video content is expanding rapidly around the world and on many platforms, but most credit Vine with starting the trend (now relaunched as Byte). Not wanting to be left out in the cold, even YouTube is planning to launch a competitor to TikTok before the end of the year, called Shorts.
ByteDance, and TikTok, is hoping to continue its immense growth as it prepares to go public in the next couple of years. It’s gone on a hiring spree recently and created 40,000 new jobs in 2020.