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TikTok Doubles Sales To $35 Billion Despite Bans, Layoffs

Chinese social media app TikTok — the world’s biggest startup — grew operating profit to $7 billion after parent company ByteDance saw revenue at about $35 billion last year, Bloomberg reported.

The Chinese company had an estimated operating profit of below $4 billion the prior year, according to Bloomberg. Based in Beijing, ByteDance is valued at roughly $180 billion, and TikTok is in the planning stages of an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong.

Despite the financial success of the Chinese startup, a TikTok ban in India triggered wide-scale layoffs in the country, The Economic Times reported. Some 58 additional Chinese apps were also banned by India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

“It is deeply regretful that after supporting our 2000+ employees in India for more than half a year, we have no choice but to scale back the size of our workforce,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.

The former President Donald Trump administration last year also moved to ban the app after calling it a security threat. Oracle and Walmart moved in with plans to acquire 20 percent of TikTok.

Founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012, ByteDance built TikTok into a social media hit across the globe, with over 100 million users just in the U.S., Bloomberg reported. Its sales have aligned with those of giant legacy brands like Nike and Coca-Cola.

In November, ByteDance was China’s second-biggest platform by digital advertising dollars, closing in on Alibaba’s lead and bumping Baidu. Social commerce topped $89 billion January to September 2020 and is forecasted to hit $604.5 billion by 2027.

ByteDance launched a mobile payments service for Douyin and aims to take on China’s bigger payments players Alipay and WeChat Pay.

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