Who Owns TikTok?

Who Owns TikTok

With a combined user base of over 500 million people and growing, TikTok is the current hottest app in the social media sphere.

This new video-sharing platform allows users to post 15-second clips that are geotagged, as well as add music and filters for added effect. The result? A world filled with ridiculous videos of teens lip syncing to their favorite hits. With such a simple concept, TikTok’s popularity is only expected to grow further — but who exactly owns this popular app?

As you probably know by now, the internet is a vast place. From websites to apps, everything operates under different ownership structures. As it turns out, this is also true for TikTok! Read on to find out who owns TikTok and its sister company Musical.ly…

Who Owns TikTok: The Truth About This Popular Social App

TikTok (or Tik Tok as it’s commonly known) is a video sharing app that allows users to create and share short videos with their friends and followers. The simple app offers a clean user interface that makes it easy to simply select a video, add a short clip of music, and then share with your friends.

While TikTok is most popular as an entertainment app where users can share funny or silly videos, it also offers functionality to make it easy to create more serious content like music, travel videos, or vlogs. The app boasts a wide variety of features, including tagging friends in your videos, searching for content created by others, and even live streaming.

TikTok also offers in-app purchases, such as virtual gift cards that let you send out “tokens” to your friends. These can be redeemed for special features or even for digital content, such as emojis, stickers, and other visual “gifts”.

Who Really Owns TikTok?

When you think of social media companies and apps, you may not necessarily think of China first. However, the country has grown to be a leader in this space by investing heavily in internet companies that cater to their younger demographic.

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TikTok (or Tik Tok as it’s commonly known) is one such app that has taken off thanks largely to its popularity with younger users in Asia.

The simple video sharing app boasts over 700 million monthly active users and continues to reach new audiences with localized versions for different markets. But exactly who owns TikTok? And what does this tell us about the future of this company? Let’s take a look!

TikTok is owned by Beijing-based technology company ByteDance, founded by the Chinese billionnaire entrepreneur, Zhang Yiming.

The 38-year-old was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2019, who described him as “the top entrepreneur in the world”.

After graduating Nankai University with a BA in Software Engineering in 2005, he worked for a number of tech companies, including Microsoft.

He founded his own internet tech firm ByteDance in 2012, which developed apps and news aggregation services, including TikTok.

TikTok allows users to share up to 60 seconds of video – either creating their own content, or lip-syncing to popular songs, comedy sketches, or film scenes.

What is Zhang Yiming’s net worth?

Zhang Yiming has a net worth of $59.4billion, making him China’s second richest man, according to his Forbes profile.

ByteDance is the most valuable start-up in the world, having surpassed Uber in 2018, and is now valued at nearly $400 billion.

It has more than a dozen mobile products globally, which boast over one billion monthly users.

How did Tik Tok get so big?

TikTok achieved rapid success because it tapped into a Chinese trend known as “mobile gaming for socializing.” These are simple games that are played in short bursts and are designed to help you connect with friends by playing together.

TikTok’s predecessor was a social app called Musical.ly that let users create 15-second videos and then share them with friends and followers.

TikTok’s creators realized that they could expand the app’s functionality to make it more flexible, while adding a wide range of in-app purchases that could help monetize the app. Musical.ly had been used by a large number of young people in Asia, thanks to its wide availability across multiple platforms and its low-quality videos that aren’t too distracting when shared at work. See How to Go Live on Tiktok

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TikTok’s creators then added a few new features, such as the ability to stream live, and changed its name to TikTok. It then quickly expanded beyond Asia and has now become wildly popular with a wide variety of users.

Snap Inc. Takes Over

TikTok’s rapid success has led it to become an attractive investment for many companies – with Snap Inc. being the latest to take a stake in the app. The parent company of Snapchat has invested $175 million in TikTok’s parent company, Beijing-based Bytedance, the world’s most valuable privately-held firm. Snap Inc.’s investment valued the social app at over $10 billion and was made with a view to turning TikTok into a major part of their own advertising strategy.

Bytedance was also recently granted an initial public offering from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which will allow the company to go public. However, it remains to be seen whether its ownership structure will remain the same following the IPO.

Bytedance Becomes the Majority Owner

As TikTok has grown to become the most popular video sharing app in the world, its parent company Bytedance has also become one of the most valuable social media firms. This has allowed the company to negotiate with other stakeholders, including Snap Inc., to secure a controlling stake in TikTok.

In June 2019, Bytedance increased its ownership from 36% to 52%, becoming the majority owner of TikTok and securing its future growth. This news was initially broken by The Wall Street Journal, and confirmed by TikTok’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Xixi Hemm. TikTok’s co-founder and Chairman George Xu will also step down from the board of directors, although he will remain an advisor to the company.

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The move marks the end of a long process in which Bytedance was forced to negotiate with Snap Inc. and others to secure a majority stake in its most valuable property.

Short Video App Future

With its majority stake in TikTok, Bytedance is well placed to capitalize on the growing popularity of short video apps. Consumers are spending increasingly more time watching short videos on their devices, thanks to apps like TikTok, Twitter’s Vine, and Facebook’s Slingshot.

Bytedance has also diversified its operations by acquiring other social apps, including the news aggregator Jinri Toutiao and the language-learning app Duolingo. These are also available as standalone apps, meaning that Bytedance can reach a wider audience with both its own content and that of other publishers.

These moves show that the company is looking to diversify the types of content available through its apps, as well as their distribution methods. Bytedance clearly has big plans for TikTok’s future, and these could be just the start of its ambitions.


TikTok is a powerful example of how a simple app can become hugely popular by tapping into existing trends, such as the growing appeal of short videos. It also shows how a large Chinese company can use TikTok as a way to boost its own operations and expand its reach.

Bytedance has a long-term view of the social media landscape and has been careful to build up a wide range of apps that are complemented by one another and can be easily shared across devices and different social networks.

TikTok may be the app that most people know and use, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg for Bytedance. These are exciting times for social media and for TikTok in particular.

The app and its parent company are well positioned to capitalize on the growing popularity of short video apps, as well as on the increased use of social media among older demographics. TikTok has a bright, short-lived future ahead of it!

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