TikTok and Douyin owner Bytedance’s valuation has risen more than 33% from around two years ago to more than $100 billion, according to a report from Bloomberg Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
While some transactions valued the company between $105 billion and $110 billion, the company has also traded as high as $140 billion. However, because the trades are private, the valuation may not reflect broader investor estimates, the report said.
Bytedance has seen massive success in both domestic and overseas markets with an array of apps including Douyin and content aggregator Jinri Toutiao. Douyin and TikTok, for instance, attracted 315 million downloads on the App Store and Google Play in the first quarter of 2020, achieving a total of 2 billion downloads, all the while being scrutinized by regulators in the US for national security risks.
To allay concerns from the US, Bytedance poached former Disney streaming executive Kevin Mayers as the company’s chief operating officer and the chief executive officer of TikTok. He will report directly to Bytedance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming.
Despite its breakneck growth in the past few years, Bytedance has seen slower and even stagnant user base growth on many of its apps as the market becomes saturated. Starting from 2019, Bytedance has been making more aggressive ventures into online education, gaming, and office tools to boost growth.
In March 2020, Zhang said in an internal letter that education would become a new strategic focus of Bytedance. Senior Vice President Chen Lin said a day later that the company’s online education business has been continuously hiring, intending to increase its headcount by 10,000 this year.
Bytedance has also made significant moves in the video game market. In June 2019, the company was said to have assembled a team of several hundred people for the development of hardcore games, according to a report from LatePost. By January 2020, the company had expanded the size of its gaming team to more than 1,000 employees.
According to Chinese media reports, Bytedance has been expanding at such a rate to meet its revenue goal of as high as RMB 180 billion in 2020, which cannot be realized with advertising alone.