TikTok is a hugely popular social media platform with over a billion monthly active users – but who owns it? We’ll take a look…
TikTok is a hugely popular social media platform used by over a billion people around the world. It’s the source of constant viral trends and challenges that are imitated by teens and adults everywhere you look.
The platform quickly established itself, taking the place of Vine and competing with YouTube, Instagram and Facebook in the content creation and sharing sector.
TikTok has had its controversies, however, with the service collecting its users’ personal information. While this information is no different from what Snapchat and Instagram collect, the problem lies in the fact that the company is Chinese-owned.
So, who owns TikTok? And why might it be a problem for the platform to collect information from its users?
Who owns TikTok?
TikTok is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, which is based in Beijing but has offices around the world. ByteDance is the same company that owns BaBe, Helo and Viga Video.
Although the company is headquartered in China, it actually has 36 offices around the world, including U.S. cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Following a possible nationwide ban in the United States, there was widespread discussion that American companies would attempt to buy the company. The ban results from information regarding the application collecting and storing personal information about users.
Who owns ByteDance?
The founder of the Chinese conglomerate ByteDance and in turn TikTok is Zhang Yiming, who has since resigned as CEO and now only owns a 22% stake in the company.
ByteDance was founded in 2012. Before that, Zhang had studied software engineering and managed to find himself working with Microsoft, who, alongside Oracle, had expressed interest in buying TikTok from him.
ByteDance officially launched TikTok in the Chinese market in 2016 under the name “Douyin” and its popularity pushed them to launch it globally a few years later in 2018.
Will Oracle buy TikTok?
When the United States began threatening to ban TikTok due to its Chinese origin, a few American companies were interested in purchasing ByteDance’s platform.
One of these companies was Oracle, a computer software company headquartered in Austin, Texas. Oracle is best known for its products like Java and the cloud technology used by Amazon and Zoom.
When then-President Donald Trump decided he didn’t trust TikTok’s current owners, he threatened to ban it in the United States. The only way for the platform to continue to be accessible to American citizens was for ByteDance to sell it to an American company.
ByteDance was in serious discussions with two US companies – Oracle and Walmart – when Trump’s presidency ended and the threat of a ban diminished.
Jake is a professional writer, journalist, and lifelong tech fan. It covers KnowYourMobile news and user guides.