Don’t sweat the valuation headlines, ByteDance is doing great

ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, is back in the news. The company recently offered to buy back its stock from its employees, but the issue is, it’s valuing itself at around $223 billion, which is about 26% less than the $300 billion at which it previously offered to buy back its own equity.

So does the valuation cut mean that ByteDance is a struggling business? Not in the slightest.

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On the contrary, ByteDance is an insanely good business. The company’s 2022 and Q1 2023 results point to a business that is quickly approaching annual revenue of $100 billion, and more interestingly, a profitability profile that’s similar to some of the U.S.’s most valuable tech giants.

Just look at how the company has performed over the past few years:

  • 2020: Revenue more than doubled, per Reuters, to $34.3 billion, with an operating loss of around $2 billion.
  • 2021: Revenue rose 70% to around $58 billion, according to Reuters. In the same year, the company generated EBITDA of about $14 billion, per the FT.
  • 2022: Revenue expanded around 38% in 2022 to just over $85 billion, according to the WSJ. Operating profit came to more than $20 billion, per the same source. The FT reported that its EBITDA came in at around $25 billion.

It’s impressive to see a company scaling its revenue from $34 billion to more than $85 billion in the span of just two years, but it’s downright insane that ByteDance pulled that off while also going from an operating loss of $2 billion in 2020 to an operating profit of more than $20 billion. What’s more, the WSJ reported that ByteDance had an operating profit of nearly $6 billion in Q1 2023, nearly double its Q1 2022 result.