ByteDance Ranks 2nd in Global Mobile User Spending for Non-Gaming App Publishers in 2023

Technology Author: Muriel Meng Editor: Yiru Qian Mar 01, 2024 05:58 PM (GMT+8)

TikTok has become the biggest driver fueling ByteDance's success.

ByteDance Building

EqualOcean has learned that recently released the "Top 30 List of Chinese Game Developers and App Revenue Overseas in 2023." The data shows that Chinese app publishers generated nearly USD 5.2 billion in overseas revenue in 2023, accounting for 12.2% of the global user spending and experiencing a year-on-year growth of 0.8%. Among them, ByteDance, with over USD 3.6 billion in in-app purchase revenue, ranked as the second-largest non-gaming app publisher in terms of global mobile user spending, second only to Google.

In the list of Chinese non-gaming app revenue overseas in 2023, TikTok, the subsidiary of ByteDance and BIGO LIVE, the subsidiary of Joyy, have secured the top two positions with a significant advantage. They were the only two apps that exceeded USD 100 million in overseas revenue. Specifically, TikTok's annual overseas revenue surpassed USD 3.5 billion, excluding advertising and e-commerce revenue, while BIGO LIVE achieved USD 270 million in revenue. Especially after the introduction of the tipping feature, TikTok's revenue soared, providing an industry benchmark for monetization strategies in the entertainment app sector.

In the mobile gaming sector, according to the latest report from, approximately 24% of the overseas mobile game market's user spending comes from Chinese publishers. Among the top 100 global publishers in terms of overseas revenue, 29 are Chinese publishers, an increase of one compared to 2023. In 2023, a total of 27 mobile game publishers successfully exceeded USD 100 million in overseas revenue.

Among them, miHoYo surpassed Tencent and ranked first in the list of overseas revenue. These two companies were the only Chinese mobile game publishers to exceed the USD 1 billion mark in overseas revenue. Genshin Impact and Honor of Kings were their most popular games, respectively. Following closely behind, 37 Interactive achieved nearly USD 900 million in revenue, thanks to its stable position in the SLG and MMORPG gaming markets in the United States, Japan, and South Korea. In fact, nearly half of the top 30 companies on the list excelled in the SLG category, including companies like DianDian Interactive, Lilith Games, and IM30. In particular, DianDian Interactive's Whiteout Survival became the biggest dark horse in the category in 2023, contributing to over 50% of the publisher's total revenue.

In addition to traditional gaming genres such as SLG, team-based RPG, and MOBA, some publishers have made efforts in new gaming categories. For example, NetEase successfully seized the overseas market for party battle royale games with Eggy Party and accumulated USD 4.6 million in user spending in the Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan regions. HaiPi continued to focus on the roguelike casual action game category and ranked 8th in overseas revenue with a hybrid monetization strategy. Lemon Games continuously updated and iterated its synthesis mobile game gameplay, with its game Gossip Harbor ranking 4th in annual revenue, following Merge Mansion, Merge Dragons, and Travel Town.

Furthermore, the entertainment sector remains a major focus for Chinese app publishers going overseas, including online streaming, short videos, and live streaming platforms.

OTT (over the top) apps for TV terminals and streaming services category have shown significant growth in the Southeast Asian market, with iQIYI and WeTV ranking 4th and 7th, respectively, in terms of overseas revenue. Their revenue shares in Southeast Asia reached 41% and 76%.

In the short video category, data from shows that the app has surpassed the USD 10 billion milestone on mobile devices, with overseas market revenue accounting for 70%. In addition, ByteDance's other video editing app, CapCut, also performed well. Thanks to the steady performance of the live streaming app BIGO LIVE overseas, Joyy Inc. maintained its position as the second-largest Chinese app publisher in terms of overseas revenue.

At the same time, several video and photo editing apps also made the list, including CapCut (Chinese: 剪映国际版, 5th place) and Meitu (15th place). With the increasing popularity of subscription services, we believe that the revenue growth of these types of apps will continue.

Furthermore, some publishers have focused on niche markets and achieved success through unique strategies. For example, Ruiqi Software developed AI recognition apps such as PictureThis and CoinSnap using image recognition technology. Changle Technology achieved impressive results in the overseas market with short drama content, and Daily Yoga experienced rapid growth in the niche fitness sector.