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There is a lot of attention recently around TikTok, and investors started to wonder about investing in TikTok stock. Does TikTok have a stock associated with it? Is it possible to invest in TikTok? This blog post will talk about TikTok’s stock and how you can invest in TikTok.

Update: in Sept 2022 ByteDance CFO Julie Gao reiterated that the company has no plans to go public, making an IPO highly unlikely.

What Is TikTok?

TikTok: Fast Facts
IndustrySocial networking
Launch DateSeptember 2016 (China)
September 2017 (International)
HQBeijing, China
Key PeopleLiang Rubo (ByteDance CEO), Shou Zi Chew (TikTok CEO), Vanessa Pappas (TikTok COO)
Employees10,000+
Parent CompanyByteDance
Websitewww.tiktok.com
IPO StatusPrivate, Subsidiary

TikTok is a video-sharing social networking service. Its users use it to create short lip sync comedy and talent videos. The length of these videos ranges between 15 seconds and 10 minutes.

This mobile app belongs to a company called ByteDance. ByteDance is a Beijing-based company founded in 2012.

TikTok is the international version of Douyin, which was launched in 2016 in the Chinese market. Later on in 2017, given its success, it was branded as TikTok and launched internationally outside China. Even though the apps are similar, they run on separate servers to comply with Chinese censorship restrictions.

An interesting feature of TikTok is that it uses artificial intelligence to analyze users’ interests and preferences. Through their interactions with the content, the users allow TikTok to display personalized content to them.

Why Does TikTok Get So Much Attention?

TikTok’s growth was explosive after launching in 2017 outside of China. It became the most downloaded app in the US in October 2018. This puts TikTok as the first Chinese app to achieve this in history.

Since 2018, the app is available in over 154 markets in 75 languages. In 2019 the app hit 1 billion downloads globally, which is an impressive mark. TikTok had 1.2 billion monthly active users in Q4 2021 and is expected to reach 1.8 billion by the end of 2022. As of Q1 2022, there were over 100 million monthly active users in the United States alone.

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Furthermore, TikTok was the seventh most downloaded mobile app of the decade ending in 2019.

More interestingly, in 2021, TikTok was the most downloaded app of the year beating Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. This means that TikTok is becoming a major threat to Facebook. Instagram, one of Facebook’s products, launched Instagram Reels in August 2020, which is widely perceived as a TikTok clone.

TikTok’s revenue for 2019 topped US$17 billion, with a staggering $3 billion in net profit. According to Bloomberg, TikTok brought in nearly $4 billion in revenue in 2021 and is projected to hit $12 billion in 2022.

It’s not hard to imagine how these stats draw a lot of media attention and exposure.

Is There a Stock Associated With TikTok?

TikTok is a product created by a Chinese company called ByteDance. ByteDance is still privately held, meaning its shares are not available on the stock market yet.

That said, ByteDance has received investment from SoftBank, a well-known investment firm. Softbank is keen to have a successful IPO amongst its investments, after Uber, Slack, and WeWork’s failures, and ByteDance will likely be their next bet. That means it’s reasonable to believe that ByteDance will go public at some point soon and therefore enable users to invest in TikTok.

Some reports suggested ByteDance would go public around Spring 2020. In May 2020, ByteDance’s valuation raised to more than $100 billion in recent private share transactions, some people said. It has also traded as high as $140 billion, as reported by Bloomberg.

How Can I Invest in TikTok?

Since it’s not possible to buy TikTok stock from the stock market, there might be other possibilities for investors to invest in ByteDance pre-IPO.

Some platforms provide a secondary market for pre-IPO equity. The way it works is that shareholders of private companies can sell their stock options to investors. Most shareholders will probably be employees of these companies that want to get some liquidity for their illiquid company stock.

These marketplaces often impose investor qualifications, and there is no guarantee or assurance that they will have available shares in any given pre-IPO company.

  • Forge Global merged with Sharespost in 2020. The combined company is now the world’s largest marketplace for private company shares. Investors must make a minimum purchase of $100,000 worth of shares. The minimum may be higher for some companies. Investors may need to meet qualification requirements.
  • EquityZen acquires shares from early investors or from employees who have received stock as part of their compensation. They work with companies to assure that transactions will be recognized and sell the shares to investors who meet the revised SEC “accredited investor” criteria. There’s a minimum investment of $10,000, which may be higher for some companies.
  • Nasdaq Private Market provides access to private-company shares for investors who meet the SEC’s accredited investor criteria.
  • EquityBee is a private marketplace that allows investors to fund employee stock options in return for a share in the proceeds of an eventual sale.

Another possibility is investing in a private equity fund that invests in companies like ByteDance in venture capital rounds. Both EquityZen and AngelList provide such funds where investors can diversify their investments in early-stage or pre-IPO stage companies. By investing in these funds, investors get exposure to great early-stage companies pre-screened by professional investors.

However, the issue with these private equity funds is that they usually require an investor to be a high-net-worth individual. That means only wealthy individuals can really invest in such funds.

 📚 See ALL the ways you can get in on pre-IPO investing: How to Buy Pre-IPO Stocks?

Since it’s unlikely that there will be another funding round in the short-term, waiting for ByteDance to become public seems to be the simplest route to invest in TikTok.

Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that choosing stock on your own is not always a great idea, especially pre-IPO.

FAQs

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a video sharing social networking service. Its users use it to create short lip sync comedy and talent videos. The length of these videos ranges between 15 seconds and 10 minutes.

Is there a stock associated with TikTok?

TikTok is a product created by a Chinese company called ByteDance. ByteDance is still privately held, meaning its shares are not available on the stock market yet.

How can I invest in TikTok?

Since it’s not possible to buy TikTok stock from the stock market, there might be other possibilities for investors to invest in ByteDance pre-IPO. Some platforms like EquityZen provide a secondary market for pre-IPO equity. Another possibility is to invest in a private equity fund that in turn invest in companies like ByteDance in venture capital rounds. Both EquityZen and AngelList provide such funds. That said, waiting for ByteDance to become public seems to be the simplest route to invest in TikTok.

Who owns TikTok?

TikTok is owned by ByteDance. ByteDance is a Beijing-based company founded in 2012.

Who is the CEO of TikTok?

Kevin Mayer, the chairman of Disney’s head of streaming, is leaving the company to become the CEO of TikTok.

How much is TikTok worth?

TikTok is owned by a Chinese privately held tech company called ByteDance. ByteDance is valued at $300 billion, making it the most valuable venture-backed private company in the world.

Is Bytedance a publicly-traded company?

No, ByteDance is still privately held, meaning its shares are not available on the stock market yet.