TikTok owner ByteDance’s revenues grew 111% to $34bn last year


There is regularly speculation about how much money TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is making, but now we have some official figures courtesy of its new CEO Liang Rubo’s memo to employees at the company, reported by the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal.

The key numbers: ByteDance’s revenues grew by 111% in 2020 to $34.3bn, although the company reported an operating loss of $2.1bn and – you may wish to sit down and pour a stiff drink before reading the next figure – a $45bn net loss. “Due largely to an accounting adjustment the company made for an increase in the fair value of its convertible redeemable preferred shares,” according to the WSJ.

The memo also said that ByteDance’s monthly active users across all its apps grew from 1.5 billion at the end of 2019 to 1.9 billion at the end of 2020, although it did not break that down between individual apps. The obvious comparison is to Facebook, whose own family of apps had 3.45 billion monthly active users at the end of March this year.

The figures were published at an important moment for ByteDance. It has fended off the prospect of an enforced sale of TikTok’s US operations for now, but is grappling with a crackdown in its native China on apps and privacy. Reportedly worth $180bn, it is mulling an IPO, with a CEO changeover underway too.

Written by: Stuart Dredge