TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, strives to become a tech giant like Google and Facebook
In a letter to all the company’s employees, the chief executive stated that they are going to focus on global expansion now. Although ByteDance is under investigation currently by the US over allegations of ties with the Chinese government, Zhang is optimistic. He has told Reuters that there are a lot of misunderstandings in the current situation. Despite the company’s efforts to clean their name, for the time being TikTok is banned for use by employees of some American government entities.
The video-sharing social media has, however, become very influential on the American market, especially among younger people. The stock value of the platform is reportedly close to $100 billion on the secondary market, where investors exchange stocks between themselves instead of with issuing entities.
Since 2013, Zhang had plans to conquer the global market, even though at the beginning the company did not have the financial means to do so. On the other hand, ByteDance’s apps were not without issues before the 2020 confrontation with some US officials - in 2018, the Chinese government shut down one of the company’s top apps, over containing “vulgar” content.
However, this did not kill Zhang Yiming’s ambitious plans. He had been borrowing strategies from the American tech giant Google in managing the Beijing offices for a long time already. The facilities are decorated with posters and the CEO delivers speeches every two months, in the spirit of Google’s open work culture. Additionally, he has also requested staff to not call him “CEO” or “boss”, which is quite drastic amidst a traditional Chinese culture.
Some other apps from the company are already, to a certain extent, globalized. For instance Halo is an Indian social media app, and Lark, a productivity app for the workplace, was targeted towards the US, Europe and Japan. Unfortunately for ByteDance, due to the US’ concerns with the company’s privacy policies, the Lark app had to be reoriented to focus on markets in Japan, Singapore and India.
Even though the CEO’s plans seem quite enterprising, he states that at the moment ByteDance does not have any imminent strategy on a stock market launch.