TikTok-owner ByteDance said to surpass US$100 billion in private market value
- ByteDance’s valuation has risen at least a third to more than US$100 billion in recent private share transactions, people familiar with the matter say
- The Chinese company has grown into a potent online force in recent years, propelled in part by TikTok, a short video platform that has taken teenagers by storm
Stock in the world’s most valuable start-up has changed hands recently at a price that suggests its value has risen more than 33 per cent from about US$75 billion during a major round of funding two years ago, the people said, requesting not to be named because the issue is not public.
Some of those transactions valued the Chinese company at as much as US$140 billion, one person said. The trades are private transactions and may not fully reflect broader investor expectations.
ByteDance has grown into a potent online force in recent years, propelled in part by TikTok, a short video platform that has taken US teenagers by storm. Investors are keen to grab a slice of a company that draws some 1.5 billion monthly active users to a family of apps that includes Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese twin, as well as news service Toutiao.
The company was in the very early stages of exploring a share sale abroad last year, people familiar have said. But any float remains a longer-term objective given ByteDance remains well-funded, the people added. ByteDance declined to comment on Wednesday.
It is also strengthening its operations in newer arenas such as e-commerce and gaming. ByteDance this year kicked off a wave of hiring it envisions hitting 40,000 new jobs in 2020, hoping to match Alibaba’s headcount at a time technology corporations across the globe are furloughing or reducing staff.
Longer term, the company will have to grapple with rising scrutiny from Washington. Two prominent senators have urged investigations into TikTok, labelling it a national security threat.
(Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.)