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Bytedance (2012 – )

Make your 15 second video and go viral!

The 15-second video captivated young people from all over the world. This is the story of ‘TikTok’ serviced by Chinese startup’ByteDance’, which is the 7th year since its founding. Bytedance is a company that has been recorded as the world’s best startup, unicorn, overtaking Uber based on the success of TikTok. Bytedance, which successfully entered the global market that other Chinese companies have been so longed for, started its business as a news curation app, and now has grown into a monumental company serving SNS used by 500 million people every day around the world. We want to look back on the history of byte dance, a service company of TikTok, which has already secured more than 3 million users in Korea and is causing a blast.

▲ TikTok’s’Byte Dance’, which took over the world with a 15-second video


The success of news apps created by young developers

This year, the 36-year-old founder and chief executive of Byte Dance, Zhang Yiming, is said to have read about 20 newspapers every day while in high school. He was dissatisfied with the fact that the news portal site was taking a way to teach the viewers, not the news they wanted to see. Under the belief that “let’s distribute the news that readers want,” Zhang Yi-ming will set up a company with three people in their twenties, including himself.

▲ Founder Zhang Yi-ming, who majored in software engineering at the prestigious Nankai University in Tenjin

Uniquely, Zhang Yi-ming differs from other successful Chinese start-up founders, who did not study abroad in Silicon Valley, USA, and received software education only in China. After graduating from university as a native developer’, I worked for a year at Microsoft’s China branch, and all I had with a foreign company or company. After leaving Microsoft, it was in March 2012 that Jang Yi-ming, who developed the travel search engine’Koo Xun’ and the real estate search engine’ Zhu Zhu Fang’, turned to the news app service. According to the founding philosophy, “Bite Dance,” a company he founded in Zhongguancun, in downtown Beijing, launched a news app “Jin Ru Tiao (Today’s Headline News, hereinafter Thou Tiao)” at a time more than half a year after its establishment.

▲Tuo Tiao, China’s No.1 news app, currently has 800 million subscribers

It was an app that collected and provided users’ information, analyzed based on this, and collected news that users would expect. The way they collect information is mainly in linking with users’ social network service accounts (WeChat, QQ, etc.). Through the user’s account information, articles that are shared or expressed on SNS are collected, and preferences are analyzed based on demographics through profile information such as age, gender, and occupation. The user’s data is accumulated more and more as the time of using the app increases, and it is structured to have a more sophisticated recommendation algorithm.


The appearance of TikTok based on musically

Toutiao did not produce its own content but secured a content pool by establishing a collaboration system with more than 600,000 media, institutions, companies, and individuals. In this pool, efforts have been made to identify and filter low-quality content in order to ensure the quality of service, and this series of movements will receive great response from the Chinese. In three months of launch, Toutiao surpassed 10 million subscribers, surpassed sales targets each year, and grew rapidly to become the No. 1 news app service in China. What is surprising is that in this process, they did not receive any investment from China’s giant ICT companies. It has been repeated.

▲ The start of TikTok, an app that has achieved success beyond Tucao

Based on the great success and astronomical sales of Toutiao, the company gradually began to expand its business areas. While trying to target the overseas market by releasing an English service version of Tuxiao, it also sought to advance into a new field by acquiring Flipagram, an UCC app in the United States. Investments in technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data and mergers and acquisitions with existing news services continued. In October 2016, the company is continuing its efforts to pioneer new markets, such as acquiring India’s largest news portal ‘Daily Hunt’.

▲ With the success of TikTok, the CI of the company that used Toutiao has also changed to casual.

Various new attempts have succeeded one after another. After launching 10 app services after Toutiao, most of them succeeded in succession, and among them, the second killer content that brought success beyond Toutiao to the company will be released in 2016. That is, the video app’The Wooin’ and the global service name’TikTok’. This app was a video editing social network service that could make a video in about 15 seconds and share it with other users. TikTok is only now being treated as the ancestor of the 15-second video SNS, but in fact, TikTok is not a completely new app, but a service that benchmarks other existing apps. The benchmarking target was’musical.ly’, which launched its service in 2014, which was successful in the global market.


The longing for success in the global market

Musically, which successfully combined music and video, ranked first in the App Store download rankings in July 2015, and began to earn attention in earnest, and achieved 90 million downloads in one year afterward, leading to success. It was the app I ran. And TikTok recreates the success of musically in China. Beginning in 2017, TikTok has grown terribly and will acquire more than Toutiao users.

▲ TikTok continues to conduct large-scale global marketing

And based on its success in China, Byte Dance acquired TikTok’s original musically in November 2017, and in August of the following year, the two apps will be integrated and rebranded. The benchmarking content service company swallowed up the original. In 2018, starting with Thailand, TikTok became the’hottest app’ in the global market beyond China, with TikTok rising to the download popularity ranking across the global market. In addition to TikTok, Bytedance’s other app services continued to grow. Thanks to that, the apps serviced by Byte Dance, including TikTok and Toutiao, have exceeded 1.5 billion monthly users and 700 million daily users. This figure is comparable to the services of global ICT companies such as Google and Facebook.

▲ Now Byte Dance has become an important company for app store operators as well.

Jang Yi-ming is a person who spoke strongly about the importance of entering the global market before releasing TikTok. It is said that he has usually said his ambition, “I will create the world’s No. 1 platform to replace Twitter and Yahoo within 5 years,” and now it is evaluated that TikTok is actually playing its role. TikTok generates about half of its total sales in the global market, not China, and includes Korea. Since TikTok started its domestic service in 2017, it has been working hard to secure a wide range of awareness through large-scale marketing.


Can I become the second Alibaba

It was in October 2018 that Byte Dance, which had continued to grow, attracted investment from SoftBank. Softbank, US investment fund KKR, and US General Atlantic have expressed their intention to invest in byte dance, which in fact will attract large-scale investments of $3 billion. At the time of the investment, Bytedance’s corporate value was estimated at $75 billion, which exceeds the value of Uber, which is considered the most successful startup in the world. Eventually, TikTok succeeded in raising the company value evaluated in 2014 to 150 times in 3 years and 4 months.

▲ In Korea, the number of TikTok users is increasing rapidly.

According to Bloomberg News of the United States, Byte Dance is testing the service of a new music app following TikTok. This is the story of ‘Resso’, which has been soft-launched in India and Indonesia, and is rapidly increasing users. Lesso is an app targeting the music streaming service market such as Spotify and Apple Music, and it is a distinctive point in that it shows lyrics, allows users to post opinions on individual music, and makes videos with music like TikTok. This app is expected to be serviced as a monthly subscription product, and although it has not yet formed a partnership with any of the world’s three major music companies, it is expected to clear the copyright issue soon and make it global.

▲Lesso, a new service currently being tested by Byte Dance

If TikTok and Leso succeed, Bytedance is expected to successfully complete its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which is currently under review. Byte Dance saw March 2020 as the right time for listing, but so far, there is no big move. However, unlike other Chinese companies, the future of Byte Dance is expected to be bright in that half of its sales are obtained from overseas markets, not from China, and that it is a company that has released a ‘real global success’ that Chinese people so long for. Will they be able to successfully complete the public offering and become the ‘second Alibaba’ by becoming a big player in the global market?
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