“We inform, educate, entertain and inspire people across languages, cultures and geographies”

Founded: 2013 in Beijing, China

Category: Online Content

Primary office: Beijing (China)

Status: Private

Employees: 11,150

Amount raised: $4.3 billion  (9 rounds – April 2019)

OVERVIEW

  • Operates a range of multi-lingual, multi-cultural and international technology platforms that provide information, education or entertainment

PERFORMANCE METRICS

  • Valuation – $75 billion
  • Estimated revenue – $2.5 billion
  • Monthly active users: 13 billion (March 2019)

 

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • World’s most valuable startup
  • Products are available in 150 markets and 75 languages
  • Growth enabled through numerous company and intellectual property acquisitions
  • Substantial investments by well recognized venture capitalists such as SoftBank and Sequoia Capital
  • Named by Fast Company as one of the world’s 50 most innovative companies (2018)
  • TikTok chosen as one of Google Play’s best apps (2018)
  • Overtook Baidu and Tencent in China’s digital advertising market (2019)

Sells

  • TikTok – Leading platform for short-form mobile videos
  • Douyin – Chinese leading platform for short-form mobile videos
  • Vigo Video – Short video platform that allows users to create and share compelling stories and showcase their talent
  • Houshan Video – Chinese version of Vigo Video
  • Helo – India’s leading social media platform
  • BaBe (Baca Berita) – Leading Indonesian news and content application offering personalized news and entertainment content
  • Lark – Interconnected platform of collaboration tools such as chat, calendar, cloud storage and app centre.
  • Toutiao – Popular Chinese news aggregator (240 million unique devices)
  • An all-in-one marketing solutions platform
  • Sells targeted ads – e.g., Douyin offers flash ads that can cost up to about $150,000 for one day and newsfeed at $4/click

Channels

  • Partnerships
  • Focuses on Generation Z consumers – hence, partnership with Snapchat developer
  • Multi-lingual, multi-cultural websites
  • TikTok/Douyin ads to Generation Z consumers – ad matching
  • US brands use influences for marketing on TikTok
  • Immersive formats
  • Organizations use TikTok to grow their audience, activate supporters, and raise awareness around specific causes
  • Various TikTok niches. For example:
    • TikTok for Good – inspire/encourage new generation to have a positive impact
    • TikTok for developers – tools for creators and communities
    • TikTok for artists – platform supporting artists

Competencies

  • Artificial intelligence algorithms for determining user interests, matching ads with users, music, smart recognition technology, etc.
  • Deep understanding of Generation Z users and content developers
  • Technology driven company – artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, speech and audio, knowledge and data mining, computer graphics, distributed systems and networking
  • Technology-savvy and Generation Z-savvy founder

Resources

Assets

  • Technology-savvy and Generation Z-savvy founder
  • International set of platforms largely focused on Generation Z – videos, information integrators, collaboration tools
  • ByteDance research lab focusing on artificial intelligence, large-scale machine learning algorithms, etc.
  • Global offices including Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo
  • Partnerships with universities for R&D

Processes

  • Uses artificial intelligence to personalize newsfeeds according to users’ interests
  • Artificial intelligence generated music
  • Smart recognition technology substitutes for inputting of individual preferences
  • Frequent app updates so as to innovate, iterate and improve
  • The virtuous cycle of engagement data to optimize the content life cycle: Creation, Curation, Recommendation, and Interaction
  • Processes to have researchers work side-by-side with the product/engineering teams to understand user needs and develop business-ready solutions
  • Processes that benefit from content aggregation to content destination
  • Processes to build communities

Priorities

  • Focus on Generation Z
  • Address privacy/intelligence concerns arising in various international markets (e.g., USA and India)
  • Earning and preserving the trust of users, partners and regulators
  • Building a safe, healthy and positive online environment
  • Further build out partnerships
  • International expansion
  • Being good at identifying what its users want to see and map business model to perfectly to that strength

Assertions That Best Describe What the Company Did to Scale Early, Rapidly & Securely

  1. Increase value by simultaneously developing worldwide learning capabilities, multinational flexibility, and global competitiveness
  2. Develop and sell products that address a problem, job to be done or a need that is shared by a large and growing number of individuals and organizations in various regions to increase sales
  3. Increase market share by applying digital technology to brand, market, sell, and service customers more cost-effectively than competitors
  4. Sell online using a variety of online and offline promotional channels to increase the number of new customers and the retention rate of existing customers
  5. Enter a new market by partnering with or purchasing local firms to increase sales
  6. Increase demand by using scientific and technological advances to develop innovative products and services
  7. Continuously improve the user interfaces and applications that directly influence the entirety of the customer experience including personalized content, quality messaging, and the delivery and returns process to increase sales
  8. Increase sales by applying big-data analytics to produce information about users, suppliers and customers
  9. Increase the company’s value by continuously seeking and receiving funding to support the company’s plan to scale and improve its image in the marketplace