Who Owns TikTok (Updated 2023) Are you confused about who owns TikTok? Read on to learn everything you need about the social media giant and its ownership.
Almost everyone has heard of TikTok — the social media app that has taken the world by storm since 2016. But with all the talk about TikTok, one question remains: who owns TikTok? This article will answer that question and update you on what's been happening with TikTok recently.
Background on TikTok
TikTok is a social media app that allows users to create and share short videos. Currently free on the Apple App Store, the nearly 5-year-old app is particularly popular among younger demographics. It has been downloaded more than 2.6 billion times worldwide (210 million in the United States).
TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and is available in more than 150 countries. It remains a popular platform for content creators and audiences alike and continues to grow in popularity and audience reach.
Thanks to its broad reach and easy-to-use interface, TikTok offers a unique opportunity for creators to connect with a global audience. For many users, TikTok is a fun and entertaining way to spend time online.
How has TikTok ownership changed over the years?
The social media app has been through many changes in the last few years. In 2014, the app Musical.ly — which had similar features to the future TikTok app — was launched in China. By 2017, Musical.ly was one of the most popular apps in the world and was purchased by ByteDance for about $1 billion.
ByteDance merged TikTok with Musical.ly, which helped to boost TikTok's global reach and gave it access to a larger pool of users and content creators.
Who currently owns TikTok?
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a private company headquartered in Beijing. ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, was founded in 2012.
In 2016, the company launched Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. In 2017, ByteDance launched TikTok to cater to a more global audience. In 2018, the company merged TikTok with Musical.ly to drastically expand its user base.
ByteDance's former CEO, Zhang Yiming, launched the startup in 2012 from his apartment in Beijing. Despite its humble beginnings, ByteDance is now worth an estimated $300 billion as of September 2022.
ByteDance operates multiple apps across the globe, including Helo (an Indian social media platform) and Vigo Video. Since its origins, the company has partnered with Oracle Cloud to store US-based user data.
Although ByteDance is most well-known for its investments in the social media space, the company has interests in many different industries, including news, gaming and education.
In 2022, ByteDance's healthcare offshoot, Xiaohe Health, purchased a chain of luxury Chinese hospitals for $1.5 billion. The deal further diversified ByteDance's assets and demonstrated a clear statement on the company's trust in healthcare technology.
While this financial move may seem strange, Tencent Holdings, another Chinese company, has also displayed interest in diversifying its assets in the healthcare space. While these developments are too recent to draw conclusions from, it is reasonable to expect other tech companies to follow suit.
ByteDance also owns and operates Toutiao, a Chinese app that provides personalized news to its Chinese users. While the company is famous for owning TikTok, Toutiao was actually ByteDance's first development.
ByteDance partners with several nonprofit organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund, GiveIndia, the British Olympics and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The Chinese company is currently in the middle of a massive personnel reorganization. In 2021, Zhang Yiming was replaced by Liang Rubo, as Yiming wanted to return to a more strategic role within the company. This closely follows Shou Zi Chew's resignation as ByteDance CFO, which gave him more freedom to operate as TikTok's current CEO.
It should be noted that TikTok has been subject to ongoing scrutiny over concerns about its ties to the Chinese government and potential risks to national security. In the early months of 2023, these concerns have been once again brought to the fore.
Many critics cite concerns about TikTok's data collection practices, which could enable sensitive personal and corporate information to end up in the hands of the Chinese government. With China representing the major challenge to U.S. global hegemony, critics point out the potential national security risks associated with China having access to this information.
Of course, TikTok's data collection practices are likely similar to many U.S.-based tech companies, such as Twitter or Meta. However, its detractors argue that ByteDance, based in China, combined with the Chinese government's track record of censorship and surveillance, is reason enough to question whether TikTok should be allowed to operate in the United States and other countries.
TikTok has pledged to address these concerns, but many remain skeptical about the company's potential for compromising sensitive information and the true nature of its relationship with the Chinese government — and it does not appear that these concerns will disappear any time soon.
To sum it up: what started as a home startup has now snowballed into a multibillion-dollar tech giant. ByteDance owns TikTok, as well as numerous other social media platforms, and continues to expand its reach into complementary and diverse fields.
Does Tencent own TikTok?
Tencent Holdings, a Chinese multinational conglomerate, is an investor in ByteDance but does not have a majority stake in or control over TikTok.
ByteDance was founded outside Tencent's portfolio and has even been sued by Tencent over its news and content aggregation platform Toutiao. That said, Tencent has significantly influenced the company since it has invested heavily in ByteDance in recent years.
Tencent has made several other investments in social media platforms and startups worldwide, including but not limited to Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest and Flipkart.
The Chinese tech giant also owns the popular social media platform WeChat, which has over a billion users worldwide. As such, Tencent has a vested interest in the success of social media platforms inside and outside China.
Where are TikTok's global offices in 2023?
TikTok has many offices across the globe, reflecting its commitment to creating an international platform for users and advertisers. The company continues to expand its global presence, which now includes offices in:
- Los Angeles
- New York
By maintaining offices worldwide, TikTok can keep up with the latest trends and stay ahead of the competition in the ever-changing digital landscape. These global offices equip the company to continue providing engaging content for its users and help drive market growth.
TikTok has suggested that it plans to open more offices in new locations in the coming years, which could enable it to better serve its users by providing localized content and experiences tailored to their specific needs.
Maintaining (and expanding) a global presence can also help TikTok keep a leg up on competitors and remain at the forefront of innovation within the digital media industry.
What caused the booming popularity of TikTok?
TikTok's meteoric rise in popularity can be attributed to many factors. First, its user-friendly interface and wide array of tools for creating content make it easy for anyone, regardless of experience or technical know-how, to create intriguing videos. This has allowed the platform to amass an unprecedentedly diverse group of users from different age groups, countries and social backgrounds.
Second, TikTok's sophisticated algorithms enable it to quickly identify popular trends and allow users to discover new content quickly. It has become increasingly attractive for professional influencers looking to promote their work and casual users who want to keep up with the latest viral videos.
Finally, the sheer amount of content posted by TikTok users has allowed its creators to continuously improve the platform and add new features. As a result, users have remained engaged, causing even more people to join the app and rapidly expanding its user base.
TikTok statistics to know.
TikTok is one of the leading social media platforms going into 2023. Here are some interesting TikTok statistics worth knowing:
- TikTok has more than 1.5 million active users worldwide. One of the biggest audiences for the app is in Indonesia.
- It's the top-grossing mobile app of last year.
- The average user spends 95 minutes per day on TikTok.
- TikTok has over 1 billion video views daily, which is more than Buzzfeed, YouTube, or any other similar platform.
- Most users (54 percent) are between the ages of 16 and 24.
- Sixty percent of TikTok users are Gen Z.
Can the public purchase shares of TikTok?
The public cannot purchase shares of TikTok. ByteDance has no plans to list the app on an exchange publicly. That said, it is rumored that ByteDance is considering a potential IPO in the U.S., but that rumor has yet to be confirmed.
If you want to invest in TikTok, your best bet is to purchase shares of ByteDance. Just know that this option carries some risk as ByteDance operates several other businesses and apps besides TikTok. Any significant developments related to the app could have an unpredictable effect on the company's stock price.
Several options are available if you'd prefer to invest in a fund associated with TikTok. For example, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) recently launched the KKR Global Internet Titans Fund, which invests in ByteDance, Facebook and other related companies.
You can also invest in venture capital funds focusing on tech startups like TikTok. Remember to research before investing in any fund or stock to ensure it fits your financial goals.
Now you know who owns TikTok. What Next?
So, who owns TikTok? The answer is more complex than you may think. TikTok is owned by its parent company, ByteDance. And though the Chinese government doesn't directly own the social media platform, it may indirectly influence its operations.
Additionally, shares of TikTok are not public, but you can invest in the parent company ByteDance.
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