Making the Bytes Dance to Success

ByteDance is an Internet technology company, which has headquarters in Haidian, Beijing. It can be described as a global incubator of platforms at the cutting edge of commerce, content, entertainment and enterprise services – over 2.5 billion people in the world interact with ByteDance products. That is almost 2 times the population of India. According to Tracxn, the company had over 150,000 employees as on 31st December 2023.

Bringing Winning Products

For those not in the know, ByteDance is the name behind the globally renowned video sharing app TikTok, and the video sharing app Douyin, which is the Chinese version of TikTok, made its initial public release in September 2016. It was previously named TikTok was introduced to the public for the first time in September 2017.

Both of these apps were developed by ByteDance, whose major founders are  Zhang Yiming and Liang Rubo. The company, which was founded in 2012, is also the developer of the Chinese news content platform named Toutiao.

ByteDance introduced its first app in March 2012, which is named Neihan Duanzi. The app enabled users to circulate jokes, memes, and humorous videos. Within a period of six years, Neihan Duanzi had garnered over 200 million users before it was instructed by the Chinese government to close down, in 2018. Within just ten years of its operations, ByteDance achieved an amazing revenue of 85.2 billion USD in 2022, and achieved the distinction of being the world’s most valued start-up. Its valuation was $268billion as on 6th December 2023.

Growth and Ban

In November 2017, was acquired by ByteDance for an estimated US$1 billion.  At the time of’s acquisition, TikTok did not have a global presence like For TikTok to go global, ByteDance merged with TikTok on 2nd August 2018, keeping the name TikTok. In November 2017 only, News Republic from Cheetah Mobile was acquired by ByteDance.

In April 2020, TikTok crossed two billion mobile downloads around the world. A year later Cloudflare deciphered that TikTok was the most visited website and the most widely used social media platform of 2021 with Google being the second most visited Internet site and Facebook being the second most visited social media platform in 2021, according to Cloudflare. 

However, TikTok’s amazing growth is not without its share of setbacks and controversies. In 2020 only, following a skirmish at the border between India and China, the Indian government banned TikTok and a number of other Chinese apps nationwide, citing privacy and security concerns.

Citing data security concerns, the US government banned its federal agencies from using TikTok in devices and systems. Besides that, at least 34 US states, which include Texas, Maryland, Alabama among others, had prohibited its state government agencies, employees, and contractors from using TikTok on government-issued devices.

Besides these setbacks in India and the US, TikTok had experienced partial or total ban in Australia, Belgium, European Union, Canada, Afghanistan, Pakistan, France, New Zealand, the UK, Nepal and Taiwan. For safeguarding its social harmony, the Nepali government did slap a nationwide ban on TikTok.

Secrets Behind Success

One can say that advanced AI algorithms of TikTok has revolutionised content discovery and user engagement, thereby contributing to its leadership position in social media landscape.

The stupendous pace of growth of ByteDance has the potential of research and learning in several esteemed business schools. Probably in many business schools across the world ByteDance’s success is being studied already. From an article of Harvard Business Review, we could glean that in 2021, ByteDance had 1.9 billion monthly active users in 150 countries, and an employee base of over 110,000, and the company recorded 58 billion USD in revenues. 

One must acknowledge that Zhang Yiming and Liang Rubo have perceived the fast-moving digital landscape with a visionary mindset to script an unbelievable success story. The company has innovatively explored the quick consumer shift from desktop to smart phones and foreseen the enormous potential of mobile-driven applications with immense business agility and wisdom. 

ByteDance quickly branching out in diverse domains like entertainment, content, news, and more also perhaps contributed towards its amazing growth.
No wonder, going by the standing of ByteDance it is expected that a lot of investors would queue up to invest in this winning start-up. According to Crunchbase, ByteDance has been funded by 33 investors and G42 and Sequoia Capital are its most recent investors. It has attracted funding through 13 funding rounds. According to Crunchbase, ByteDance has acquired a total of 15 organizations to date, with their latest acquisition being Yanxuan Technology on March 13th, 2023.

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