One of this year’s biggest comedic trends on TikTok involves a simple question: could you win a fight against your 2018 self?
For ByteDance, the owner of the wildly successful short video app, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
It was revealed Thursday the company’s revenue doubled in 2020 to $34 billion, as the Beijing-based “startup” looks more and more like a premier social media player with each passing day.
Neck and Neck With YouTube
ByteDance, a private company whose holdings also include Chinese TikTok equivalent Douyin and news aggregation app Toutiao, was already valued north of $100 billion. But the latest figures reveal it’s unquestionably one of the world’s most dominant social media platforms:
- ByteDance had 1.9 billion monthly active users by the end of 2020, up from 1.5 billion at the end of 2019. That puts it neck and neck with Youtube, which had 2 billion monthly active users as of April. Facebook remains atop the social media food chain with 2.85 billion monthly users.
- TikTok has been downloaded over 240 million times in the United States. Teenagers and adults alike are posting, viewing, and sharing everything from wholesome teacher tributes to questionable personal finance advice to bizarre lip syncs (somehow this was the most “liked” video on the internet in 2020).
While engaging users on the level of the social media heavyweights, ByteDance’s books display hallmarks of a company still in scaling mode. For example, while earning a gross profit of $19 billion last year, the company actually recorded a $45 billion net loss due to share-based compensation and extravagant investments in new businesses.
Tik-ed Off: Earlier this year, the Biden administration revoked an attempt by former President Trump to ban TikTok in America. But just when ByteDance thought its regulatory scuffle was over, Chinese authorities initiated a crackdown on their country’s tech industry. Regulators have since given ByteDance an earful regarding data usage and inappropriate content.