One of the most interesting trends that has blindsided the online community is that of Tiktok, an app that allows users to lip sync to music with other people. When this app was first created, its following was quite small, but ever since it gained traction from being shown on social media and streaming platforms like Facebook and YouTube, it has received exposure many social media users had never expected. In fact, after the recent $3 billion round of investment led by Softbank, Bytedance, the company that created Tiktok, is now valued at $75 billion, making it the largest startup ever seen. The company has surpassed Uber’s recent $72 billion figure.
Uber will be considered an IPO, or initial public offering, by the start of 2019 and will value at a much higher rate of $120 billion. Currently, though, the title of "largest startup" has been taken quite quickly by Bytedance. While Tiktok is not the only business attributed to this overall cost, as the company also owns Toutiao, a Chinese news aggregator, it doesn’t change the fact that Tiktok has become so large that a lot of other companies are already starting to take notice. Tiktok was originally acquired as Musical.ly and was then merged into the Douyin service of the company. The karaoke app eventually became a major trend in the West, so much so that Facebook itself has reportedly already made plans to copy the app and create their own, called Lasso.
Despite their success, both Toutiao and Bytedance came under fire from the Chinese government in April this year, as the news app was temporarily removed from app stores due to issues with censorship laws. The satirical app Neihan-Duanzi, however, was taken off from app stores permanently. In an open letter by Bytedance CEO and founder Zhang Yiming, the company apologized for “publishing a product that collided with core socialist values.”