More about TikTok’s owner Zhang Yiming
Meet the head of TikTok, a 35-Year-Old who Makes employees Do Push-Ups if Their Videos Don’t Get Enough Likes.
If you’re an internet-savvy teen or the parent of one, chances are you’ve heard of TikTok, the short-form video app that’s presently blowing up online.
Clips on the platform may only be fifteen seconds long; however they’re having a giant impact: TikTok presently has more than five hundred million users worldwide. In fact, it’s generating so much attention that ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, was recently crowned the world’s most valuable startup.
Here’s everything you need to know regarding the app, ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming, TikTok’s finances and how you can make cash on TikTok.
What is TikTok and who owns it?
On its website, TikTok describes itself as “a destination for short-form mobile videos.” it has an enormous user base, with about eighty million downloads in the U.S. alone, and is very popular with teenagers. Like the now-defunct vine, TikTok features a length limit and is a prime breeding ground for memes. (See: Baby Shark, Hit or Miss, Pretty Boy Swag.)
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, which has been around since 2012 and has a $75 billion valuation.
ByteDance does plenty more than simply run TikTok — it conjointly owns Toutiao, a massively popular news platform with 240 million downloads, as well as products like Xigua Video, TopBuzz and BuzzVideo.
What do we know about the CEO?
ByteDance’s CEO and founder is Zhang Yiming, a 35-year-old entrepreneur whose background includes the creation of a real estate search engine.
Information about Zhang is scarce. He doesn’t give many interviews, however he seems to have an Instagram where posts include a scenic photo of Tokyo, an aerial video of a wedding and a picture of him standing in front of the world’s first pc. He also seems to actually like mini soda cans.
In a 2015 speech at his alma mater, Nankai University, Zhang revealed a couple of other details regarding himself. He’s a big fan of biographies and spent a lot of time in college reading. He said he’s socially awkward, a “science man” who introduces himself at school reunions with “hi, I installed your computer.” during college, he designed websites and did tech troubleshooting for extra money. As another bonus, it helped him meet his wife.
After Toutiao took off in 2012, Zhang’s ByteDance bought social video app Musical.ly in December 2017 for about $1 billion. The company folded it into TikTok this past August.
For his part, Zhang seems to understand he’s kind of a big deal, in his speech comparing himself to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Uber creator Travis Kalanick. And before you ask: yes, he has personally tried the app.
“For a very long time, I was just watching TikTok videos without making any of them myself, because it’s a product mainly for teenagers,” Zhang said during a 2017 interview. “But later on we created it compulsory for all management team members to make their own TikTok videos, and they must win a certain number of ‘likes.’ Otherwise, they have to do push-ups. It was a giant step for me.”
How does TikTok make money?
Bloomberg reported in October that ByteDance had not yet turned a profit, though its 2018 target revenue is over $7 billion. There have been rumors for months that the company is aiming to go public this year.
TikTok offers in-app purchases of coins, starting at 100 for $0.99 and leveling up to 10,000 for $99.99. Users can give coins to their favorite creators, who can in turn exchange them for digital gifts. Mobile intelligence firm Sensor Tower reported that TikTok users worldwide spent $3.5 million on in-app purchases during the month of October 2018, which is almost four times what they did in October 2017. (It’s unclear what the platform itself earns from this, however Musical.ly had a similar system and received 20th of each tip.)
Digiday reported that agencies conjointly may begin advertising on TikTok going forward given its explosive popularity. The Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, offers splash ads that can cost up to 1 million Renminbi (about $150,000) for one day and newsfeed ads for 30 Renminbi (about $4) per click, according to the Nanjing marketing group. Brands like Pizza Hut have done such campaigns.