Nearly a year ago, TikTok was tied up in an operatic corporate battle.
Over security concerns, the Trump administration was forcing a sale of the short video app from its Chinese owner (ByteDance) to the very unlikely American duo of Oracle and Walmart.
The controversy eventually went away…
… and TikTok ended the year with a huge milestone: It was the most downloaded app in 2020, besting Zucky McHarvard’s Facebook.
TikTok may be back in the hot seat, though.
According to a report from The Information, the Chinese government quietly took a 1% stake in ByteDance, which also owns popular Chinese apps Douyin and Toutiao. The government also holds 1 of 3 seats on its board of directors.
China is reining in its tech sector
- Fintech giant Ant Group had to pull its IPO last year
- China’s Uber (Didi) was taken out of app stores following its IPO
- Alibaba paid a $2.75B fine for anti-monopoly violations
- China’s tutoring industry is no longer allowed to be for-profit
- ByteDance’s CEO stepped down in May, presumably to avoid regulator heat
The question over who really runs TikTok — aside from these DIY chefs and dancing teens — looks certain to pop up again.