A billboard advertisement for the Chinese video app TikTok on Wangfujing Street in Beijing on August 20, 2020.
VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images
GUANGZHOU, China – ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, more than doubled its sales for 2020, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC.
Revenue last year was $ 34.3 billion, an increase of 111% over the previous year, the company’s management told employees in a company-wide meeting. Gross profits rose 93% to $ 19 billion, said the person attending the meeting.
ByteDance had 1.9 billion monthly active users on all of its platforms by the end of 2020 – including its widely used short video app TikTok, the Chinese version Douyin and the news aggregation app Toutiao.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the numbers.
The rapid growth underscores the excitement surrounding ByteDance, a privately held company, and why its valuation is reportedly over $ 100 billion.
The company also hired former Xiaomi manager Shou Zi Chew as its new chief financial officer earlier this year, suggesting it may be preparing for an IPO.
ByteDance’s 2020 operating loss was $ 2.1 billion versus an operating profit of $ 684 million the year before, said the person who chose to remain anonymous because they were not allowed to speak publicly. The loss was mainly due to the cost of stock-based compensation to shareholders, the source said.
The Chinese internet company has achieved international success with TikTok, the popular short video app for dancing and lip-synching. Advertising is an important part of ByteDance’s revenue on its platforms, but it has started to break into new areas like gaming and compete against some other Chinese tech giants like Tencent.
However, it was a rocky year for the company.
ByteDance was identified as a national security threat by the administration of former President Donald Trump last August and ordered to divest its TikTok business in the United States. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that year that a deal to sell TiKTok has been suspended indefinitely.
In China, ByteDance has been caught up in broader regulatory crackdown on the country’s tech sector. Douyin, the Chinese version of TiKTok, along with 104 other apps, was called by China’s Cyberspace Administration of China for the illegal collection of personal data and asked to fix the issues.
This year, too, the company will undergo a major change in leadership. ByteDance co-founder Zhang Yiming will step down from his role as CEO by the end of the year and take on a key role in the strategy. Another co-founder, Liang Rubo, currently HR manager, takes over the management.