The valuation of app factory ByteDance has hit USD 425 billion for new private equity investors, according to 36Kr. The post published by the China-based media outlet lists stakes in Chinese companies that are up for sale, and includes three entries for ByteDance. The new high in ByteDance’s valuation was billed by an investor whose shares are worth USD 50–100 million.
ByteDance had a banner year in 2020 and more than doubled its revenue to USD 34.3 billion, according to CNBC. It posted USD 2.1 billion in operating losses and logged 1.9 billion users across its vast array of services, which include the smash hit TikTok and its Chinese twin Douyin; news aggregator Toutiao; CapCut, a video editor that has topped US app store downloads; and various enterprise services like Volcano Engine. The company also has business lines in edtech and video games.
36Kr also listed valuations of USD 400 billion and USD 388.8 billion for the company.
ByteDance underwent Series C fundraising in March 2020 to hit a valuation of USD 140 billion. That number hit USD 180 billion by December 2020, according to two people who spoke to Reuters, and then proceeded to reach USD 400 billion in April this year, the South China Morning Post reported.
The firm’s ballooning valuation reflects its status as one of the few Chinese tech companies to find success beyond the Great Firewall. It navigated a tumultuous period when the Trump administration in the United States named TikTok as a threat to national security and ordered ByteDance to divest its business in the US. The aggressive approach was overturned this month by the Biden administration, which said the US government will “evaluate these threats through rigorous, evidence-based analysis.”
Over in India, however, where TikTok was banned one year ago, ByteDance flounders in limbo.
There have been shuffles in ByteDance’s key leadership positions recently. Zhang Yiming, who has been the face of the company since its formation in 2012, will step down as CEO and be succeeded by his co-founder, Liang Rubo. Over in Singapore, Shouzi Chew, the CFO of ByteDance, was named as TikTok’s new CEO. Both of these developments point to a potential gargantuan initial public offering in ByteDance’s near future, with leadership changes taking place well before the company goes public.
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