Wednesday 17 June 2020 11:02 am

Tiktok owner Bytedance sees revenue surge to £4.4bn, according to sources

Bytedance, the Chinese company behind social media platform Tiktok, has seen a surge in first-quarter revenue to 40bn yuan (£4.4bn), according to two people familiar with the matter.

The revenue boost marks a 130 per cent year-on-year increase, according to Reuters, citing two sources with knowledge on the matter who declined to be identified.

Bytedance has now set a 2020 revenue target of 200bn yuan, up from last year’s revenue of 120.5bn yuan, the sources added.

Bytedance-owned apps including Tiktok have seen usage rocket during the coronavirus crisis, as people turned to social media during lockdowns around the globe. 

According to mobile analysts Sensor Tower, one in three Brits now has Tiktok installed on their devices, after UK downloads surged 34 per cent the week the lockdown was introduced in March. 

The video-sharing platform gained credibility as a news source for younger generations during the pandemic, with six per cent of 18-24 year olds in the UK and one in ten youngsters in the US turning to the app for coronavirus news, according to the 2020 Reuters Digital News report released yesterday.

In April, Chinese owner Bytedance announced its plan to hire 10,000 new employees to meet demand during the pandemic.

Bytedance is now in a strong position to take on Tencent — China’s leading social media and gaming firm — and aims to reach revenue half that of its rival for the year. THe TIktok-owner pulls in the bulk of its revenue from advertising on its apps in China, including news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, and Douyin — its domestic version of Tiktok — according to sources.

Before Bytedance’s emergence in 2012, China’s advertising markets had been dominated by e-commerce giant Alibaba, rival Tencent, and search operator Baidu.

Bytedance, which was valued at $78bn (£62bn) in its latest funding round, is now worth $95bn to $140bn, the sources added.

The Chinese social media firm now has its eyes set on increasing its presence across the globe, and last month named Disney veteran Kevin Mayer as Tiktok’s new chief executive. 

The tech giant is also gearing up to launch a music streaming service to rival Swedish firm Spotify. 

Bytedance did not respond to requests for comment.