ByteDance’s 2023 Profits Surge 60% to $40 Billion, Report Shows — But Crown Jewel TikTok Still Hangs in the Balance

ByteDance profits 2023
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ByteDance profits 2023
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Photo Credit: Claudio Schwarz

TikTok-owner ByteDance saw profit surge 60% in 2023 to $40 billion, though the future of the app remains uncertain in the US, Europe, and Indonesia amid regulatory concerns.

ByteDance saw earnings surge from $25 billion to $40 billion in 2023, according to a report from Bloomberg, marking a 60% increase from the year prior for the Chinese parent company of short-form video app TikTok.

But TikTok’s future remains uncertain in many regions, namely the US, where the platform risks a so-called ban unless ByteDance divests its US TikTok assets, should a bill still in the Senate receive approval.

The future looks bright for ByteDance on its home turf, where it continues to gain traction on rivals like Tencent; the company saw sales grow from $80 billion to $120 billion last year. Similarly, the Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, is muscling in on Alibaba’s e-commerce space.

The company has also further diversified its business overseas, rolling out its TikTok Shop in the US and Southeast Asia. That said, similar to its legal woes in the US and Europe, ByteDance recently dealt with regulatory trouble in Indonesia through a tie-up with Tokopedia, the region’s e-commerce giant.

ByteDance, like many tech companies, opted to step back from “high-risk ventures” to focus on profit — resulting in letting go hundreds of employees across its gaming and enterprise software efforts, the areas that least met its revenue expectations. In its place, (again, like many tech companies) ByteDance has focused more of its effort on artificial intelligence, developing chatbots and language models in 2023, which gained approval for public release in China.

But even in that industry, the company couldn’t avoid regulatory woes; ByteDance is under scrutiny for secretly using tech from OpenAI to release a competing product. Further, The Verge reported the company violated OpenAI’s terms of service.

So what’s in store for ByteDance? Well, potentially more lawsuits and regulatory red tape, especially if a TikTok sale is enforced in the United States. ByteDance is likely to challenge any forced divestment in court.