In the midst of the US and Indian bans on TikTok, ByteDance nevertheless achieved revenue of around USD 35 billion in 2020. ByteDance is growing at a brisk rate and pushing aggressively into a plethora of new areas, including the music, entertainment and edtech sectors.
ByteDance is a technology company creating some of the world's hottest software, including the trending short-video platforms Douyin (the mainland version) and TikTok (global form) and the news channel Jinri Toutiao. In the first quarter of 2020, global user spending on TikTok accounted for over USD 50 million, with in-app purchases on digital coins and virtual gifts becoming increasingly popular. As revenue rose, ByteDance climbed past its 2018 valuation of USD 75 billion.
Despite pressure from the US and Indian bans on TikTok, ByteDance was able to take in overall revenue of up to USD 35 billion in 2020. As a pioneer in the mobile video-sharing market, ByteDance also repelled key competition from domestic tech giants like Tencent Holdings Ltd., which has over 800 million users.
The still-expanding global mobile market has quickly shifted ByteDance's focus towards worldwide rollouts, with strategic objectives already being implemented. Before the ban, TikTok overshadowed competitors in the US market by achieving massive penetration there. Its main rival, Facebook, launched a similar short-video platform called Instagram Reel, attempting to direct traffic from TikTok in August 2020. However, during the same period, TikTok already had over 100 million active users in the US.
ByteDance certainly had a strong start in 2020, with challenges coming along the way. As it made further inroads in the tech sector, by November of the same year TikTok had also announced a collaboration with Sony Music Entertainment (SME) to distribute trendy songs from global artists across the app. This platform also offered USD 200 million in creator funds to support innovative content. With the new TikTok for Business platform, the app partnered with Shopify to promote in-app purchases, from which ByteDance generated over USD 78 million in revenue in April 2020 alone.
In addition to the cooperations mentioned above, ByteDance continuously monitored the latest trends and made investments in different sectors. The edtech sector is ramping up over China. Its total market value was estimated at CNY 453.8 billion for 2020, an increase of 12.3% from 2019. Dali Education is ByteDance's standalone brand, designed to integrate with today's popular K12 e-learning trend. In October 2020, it announced its first consumer hardware project, the Dali smart lamp, in its education category.
In May 2020, ByteDance’s valuation reached USD 140 billion, making it the world's most valuable startup.