What does Tiktok tell us about what happens when a Chinese company achieves worldwide success?

16 December 2019

TikTok is an interesting Chinese phenomenon. ByteDance, the company which owns it, is still privately held and is valued at around USD 75 billion, making it the most valuable start-up in the world.

Particularly popular with the 16-25 demographic, in the last few months especially, TikTok had more than one billion downloads by 2019, and has more than 500 million active users.

So what does TikTok tell us about the Chinese companies that burst onto the world stage?

China is an incredibly competitive, skilled and educated market. Today’s younger generation particularly, are very tech-savvy, innovative and hard-working, and they are very used to seeking new opportunities and relentlessly pursuing the openings they see in the market. More than just being a fad or one-off, Tiktok underlines what Chinese companies and entrepreneurs are great at, which is continuing to innovate and meticulous analysis of what the market wants.

What TikTok has achieved that some of its Chinese compatriots have not, is truly international success. Chinese companies are mostly keen to expand internationally, and though many try, they don’t always manage, despite being hugely successful on their home ground. TikTok though, has all the variables and appeal that made international expansion a possibility.

So what next? Building on their success will almost certainly be key for TikTok, and we imagine the company’s executives will be doing everything they possibly can to ride the wave and grow further globally. With a rapidly growing user base, TikTok will be looking to make sure they have the international footprint needed to ensure that they can continue to enjoy their global success.

As ever, when a company experiences the metamorphic success of TikTok, expansion has to happen quickly to keep pace with demand. What these companies, particularly in the tech space, don’t want to do is ‘learn by doing’ as part of this expansion process. Professionalism, getting the right framework in place along with expert support are key priorities. Typically, they will turn to a specialist corporate services provider like ZEDRA to support them in multiple jurisdictions. Rapidly expanding companies will ask corporate services providers to assist with accounting, compliance, and local reporting, where they don’t have country-by-country knowledge. Overall, they want to focus on what they do best, which in the case of TikTok, is being the next big thing in social media.

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