TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese internet technology company owning several content platforms worldwide (Douyin, Toutiao, Xigua Video, Helo, Lark, Babe). Bytedance passed the $300 billion private market valuation by 2022, making around $58 billion in revenue in 2022, over $4 billion from TikTok.
|Products and Services||TikTok is a social media platform that allows users to create, share, and discover short-form video content. The core offering includes a mobile app that enables users to record and edit videos with music, effects, and filters. TikTok also provides features for content discovery, engagement, and interaction with other users.||TikTok’s primary product is its mobile app, which provides users with the tools to create, share, and discover short-form video content. The app’s features, such as music integration, effects, and filters, enhance content creation. TikTok fosters a sense of community through content discovery, engagement, and interaction with other users. The platform is designed for creativity and entertainment.||Mobile app for creating, sharing, and discovering short-form video content, features like music integration, effects, and filters for content enhancement, content discovery, engagement, and interaction with other users, focus on creativity and entertainment.|
|Revenue Streams||TikTok generates revenue primarily through advertising. The platform offers various advertising options, including in-feed ads, branded hashtags, branded effects, and challenges. Additionally, TikTok may explore other revenue streams like virtual gifts, e-commerce partnerships, and premium subscriptions in the future.||Advertising is the primary revenue source for TikTok, with various ad formats available to businesses, including in-feed ads, branded hashtags, branded effects, and challenges. The platform’s large and engaged user base attracts advertisers. TikTok may explore additional revenue streams such as virtual gifts from users to content creators, e-commerce partnerships, and premium subscriptions in the future.||Revenue from advertising, including in-feed ads, branded hashtags, branded effects, and challenges. Potential future revenue streams may include virtual gifts, e-commerce partnerships, and premium subscriptions.|
|Customer Segments||TikTok’s customer base primarily consists of content creators, advertisers, and users. Content creators are individuals or groups who produce and share videos on the platform. Advertisers are businesses and brands looking to promote their products or services to TikTok’s large and engaged user base. Users are individuals who consume, engage with, and interact with content on TikTok.||TikTok’s customer segments encompass content creators who produce and share videos, advertisers seeking to promote products or services, and users who consume, engage with, and interact with content. Content creators contribute to the platform’s content ecosystem. Advertisers leverage TikTok’s large user base for brand promotion. Users provide engagement and interaction, making the platform attractive to advertisers.||Content creators (e.g., individuals, influencers, content producers), advertisers (e.g., businesses, brands), users (e.g., individuals consuming, engaging with, and interacting with content).|
|Distribution Channels||TikTok primarily distributes its platform through mobile app stores, including Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Users download the TikTok app to their smartphones to access and use the platform. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.||Distribution channels focus on mobile app stores, specifically the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, where users can download and install the TikTok app. The availability of the app on both iOS and Android devices ensures broad accessibility to potential users.||Distribution through mobile app stores, including the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, for download and installation of the TikTok app on iOS and Android devices, ensuring broad accessibility to potential users.|
|Key Partnerships||TikTok collaborates with content creators and influencers as key partners to drive engagement and content creation on the platform. The platform also forms partnerships with advertisers and brands for advertising campaigns. Additionally, TikTok may establish partnerships with music labels and publishers for music licensing agreements.||Collaborations with content creators and influencers are instrumental in fostering engagement and generating creative content on TikTok. Partnerships with advertisers and brands enable advertising campaigns and sponsored content. Relationships with music labels and publishers secure music licensing agreements, allowing users to incorporate popular music into their videos.||Collaborations with content creators and influencers (e.g., TikTok creators, celebrities), partnerships with advertisers and brands for advertising campaigns and sponsored content, relationships with music labels and publishers for music licensing agreements.|
|Key Resources||TikTok’s key resources include its mobile app platform, a vast and engaged user base, a content creation ecosystem, a library of music and effects for video creation, advertising technology and tools for brands, a global network of users, and partnerships with content creators, influencers, and advertisers.||The mobile app platform forms the core resource, providing the foundation for user engagement and content creation. A vast and engaged user base ensures a thriving ecosystem. TikTok’s library of music and effects enhances content creation. Advertising technology and tools cater to brands’ promotional needs. A global network of users contributes to the platform’s appeal. Partnerships with content creators, influencers, and advertisers enrich the TikTok experience.||Mobile app platform for content creation and engagement, vast and engaged user base contributing to a thriving ecosystem, library of music and effects enhancing content creation, advertising technology and tools for brands’ promotional needs, global network of users making the platform appealing, partnerships with content creators, influencers, and advertisers enriching the TikTok experience.|
|Cost Structure||TikTok incurs costs related to content moderation and safety measures, infrastructure and server maintenance for video hosting, marketing and advertising expenses to attract and retain users, employee salaries and benefits, research and development (R&D) for platform improvements and innovation, and potential costs associated with music licensing agreements.||Costs related to content moderation and safety measures are essential to maintain a safe and positive platform environment. Infrastructure and server maintenance support video hosting and accessibility. Marketing and advertising expenses are crucial for user acquisition and retention. Employee salaries and benefits cover staff involved in platform operations. R&D investments drive platform improvements and innovation. Costs associated with music licensing agreements may be incurred to secure rights for user-generated content.||Costs related to content moderation and safety measures, infrastructure and server maintenance, marketing and advertising expenses for user acquisition and retention, employee salaries and benefits, research and development (R&D) for platform improvements and innovation, potential costs associated with music licensing agreements to secure rights for user-generated content.|
|Competitive Advantage||TikTok’s competitive advantage lies in its user-friendly mobile app platform, a vast and engaged user base, a thriving content creation ecosystem, innovative features like music integration and effects for video creation, effective advertising solutions for brands, and partnerships with content creators and influencers. The platform’s focus on short-form video content and trends appeals to a broad audience, making it a prominent player in the social media landscape.||A user-friendly mobile app platform ensures accessibility and ease of use. A vast and engaged user base contributes to the platform’s appeal and content richness. A thriving content creation ecosystem fosters creativity and engagement. Innovative features like music integration and effects enhance video creation. Effective advertising solutions attract brands to the platform. Partnerships with content creators and influencers enrich the TikTok experience. The platform’s focus on short-form video content and trends resonates with a broad audience, positioning TikTok as a prominent player in the social media landscape.||User-friendly mobile app platform for accessibility and ease of use, vast and engaged user base contributing to appeal and content richness, thriving content creation ecosystem fostering creativity and engagement, innovative features like music integration and effects enhancing video creation, effective advertising solutions for brand promotion, partnerships with content creators and influencers enriching the TikTok experience, focus on short-form video content and trends appealing to a broad audience, positioning TikTok as a prominent player in the social media landscape.|
ByteDance corporate structure
Based on the several products the company has, its holding company is a Cayman corporation, keeping control of other subsidiaries, from TikTok Ltd., which is the Cayman holding, owning TikTok LLC (in the US), TikTok KK, in Japan, TikTok Pte. Ltd. in Singapore, and TikTok Information Technologies UK Ltd. in the UK.
- Zhang Yiming is a Chinese entrepreneur with an impressive list of accomplishments. He founded ByteDance in 2012 and followed it up with the video platform TikTok (Douyin) and the news and information content site Toutiao.
- When Expedia announced it would acquire the travel website Kuxun in 2009, Zhang, a former employee there, took charge of its real estate search business and started 99fang.com.
- Zhang founded ByteDance in 2012 based on a vision to use AI to generate relevant content and recommendations for Chinese consumers. He stepped down as CEO in May 2021 to focus on bigger-picture tasks.
The turning point came in 2018 when TikTok merged with musical.ly.
ByteDance started its international growth in the Western world when in August 2018, it merged Music.ly with TikTok, and from there, the International expansions accelerated.
Within ByteDance, other investors are private equity and venture capital firms like Sequoia, KKR, and SoftBank.
TikTok’s business model is quite interesting as it goes beyond traditional social media.
A Timeline of ByteDance’s Rise
- March 2012: ByteDance is founded in a four-bedroom apartment.
- August 2012: ByteDance launches one of its most successful first products: Toutiao.
- September 2016: ByteDance launches Douyin in China as a successful short-form video app, which is the precursor of TikTok.
- December 2016: ByteDance acquires controlling stake in Indonesian news app BABE.
- May 2017: ByteDance launches TikTok outside China.
- November 2017: ByteDance acquires short-video platform musical.ly, which would become a key ingredient in TikTok’s success outside China.
- June 2018: ByteDance launches Helo in India as a social media platform.
- August 2018: ByteDance finalizes merger between musical.ly and TikTok
- March 2019: ByteDance launches Lark in Japan and Singapore as its first enterprise product.
Other products part of ByteDance
- Douyin is China’s leading destination for short-form mobile videos. (TikTok in China).
- Toutiao is one of the most popular content discovery platforms in China.
- TikTok leading destination for short-form mobile video.
- Xigua Video is one of China’s most popular video applications that enable users to discover, enjoy and share a wide range of video stories, both short-form and long-form.
- Helo India’s leading social media platforms.
- Lark collaboration tools in a single interconnected platform, including chat, calendar, content creation, cloud storage, and app management.
- Babe Indonesia’s leading news and content app.
- TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese internet technology company that also owns several other content platforms worldwide, such as Douyin, Toutiao, Xigua Video, Helo, Lark, and Babe.
- By 2022, ByteDance had passed a private market valuation of $300 billion, with approximately $58 billion in revenue in the same year, and over $4 billion of that coming from TikTok.
- The corporate structure of ByteDance involves a Cayman corporation as the holding company, with control over subsidiaries like TikTok Ltd., TikTok LLC (US), TikTok KK (Japan), TikTok Pte. Ltd. (Singapore), and TikTok Information Technologies UK Ltd. (UK).
- The leadership team of ByteDance is led by founder and former CEO Yiming Zhang, who founded ByteDance in 2012 with a vision to use AI for content generation and recommendations. Zhang stepped down as CEO in May 2021 to focus on bigger-picture tasks.
- TikTok’s business model revolves around advertising, and it generates significant revenue from this source. In 2022, TikTok earned $11 billion in advertising revenue and had 3.3 billion downloads and 1.2 billion monthly active users.
- ByteDance’s rise has been marked by the launch of various successful products and strategic acquisitions, including Toutiao in 2012, Douyin in 2016 (the precursor of TikTok), musical.ly in 2017, and Helo in 2018.
- Besides TikTok, ByteDance’s other products include Douyin, Toutiao, Xigua Video, Helo, Lark, and Babe, each catering to different markets and purposes.
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