ByteDance Ltd.’s profit last year soared to a record, surpassing that of China technology giants Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. for the first time, the Financial Times reported.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, jumped 79% to about $25 billion in 2022, the report said. It cited two investors briefed on the numbers. Tencent reported EBITDA of 164 billion yuan ($23.9 billion) for 2022 in its preliminary earnings statement. Meanwhile, Alibaba’s figure for the same period is about $22.7 billion, according to Bloomberg-compiled data.
Bloomberg reported last week that ByteDance’s revenue surged more than 30% to surpass $80 billion in 2022. That matched the tally at archrival Tencent, after twin video platforms TikTok and Douyin drew eyeballs and advertisers from social media incumbents.
Alibaba owns Taobao, No. 1 in the Digital Commerce 360 database of Global Online Marketplaces. It also owns Tmall (No. 2). JD.com is No. 4.
ByteDance and the TikTok ban
That double-digit growth topped most of the global internet leaders including Meta Platforms Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., underscoring the resilience of ByteDance’s business at a time Washington is threatening to join India in banning TikTok, which a growing number of government agencies across the world are wiping from official phones.
The U.S. is mulling a ban of the short-form video app because of alleged national security risks. Concerned regulators worry TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, shares private user data with the Chinese government. A TikTok ban has been proposed before. In 2020, the Trump administration publicly mulled banning the Chinese app and banned it on many government devices.
ByteDance’s profit last year came despite mounting losses at fast-growing TikTok, according to the Financial Times. TikTok has amassed more than 150 million monthly users in America, spurring concerns about China’s access to the data it gathers. Its chief executive sat through a hostile congressional hearing, during which he did little to sway some of the loudest critics.
Douyin, though, remains ByteDance’s biggest cash cow. The still-robust growth at the world’s most valuable private tech firm could boost confidence among investors shaken by recent global events. The Chinese social media behemoth was valued at around $220 billion in a recent private-market investment by Abu Dhabi AI firm G42, down from the $300 billion that TikTok’s owner set during a September share buyback program.
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