TikTok's revenue said to skyrocket over 300% in Q4

Alex Wilhelm
ZHEJIANG, CHINA - OCTOBER 18 2019 Two us senators have sent a letter to the us national intelligence agency saying TikTok could pose a threat to us national security and should be investigated. Visitors visit the booth of douyin(Tiktok) at the 2019 smart expo in hangzhou, east China's zhejiang province, Oct. 18, 2019.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Costfoto / Barcroft Media (Photo credit should read Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

According to newly released third-party data, TikTok has reason to dance.

The famous short-video application saw its in-app purchase revenue rise 310% on a year-over-year basis, according to Apptopia, a startup that tracks mobile app revenue and usage. (The Boston-based startup has raised $8.2 million to date and competes with AppAnnie.)

TikTok's revenue gains are impressive in more than percentage terms. The popular social application's in-app revenue is now at a material scale -- topping $50 million according to a chart published by Apptopia's Adam Blacker. And while the company's year-over-year growth is rapid, its sequential gain from a Q3 in-app top-line figure of around $20 million may be even more eye-popping.


At $50 million a quarter, TikTok could generate hundreds of millions in yearly revenue -- enough to go public on its own. And likely enough to provide material assistance to its parent company, ByteDance.

Update: SensorTower, another player in the mobile app intelligence business, told TechCrunch that its data shows "gross TikTok in-app spending at approximately $87 million for the fourth quarter ($62 million net) in all markets across the App Store and Google Play" excluding China. Even more, SensorTower's Randy Nelson said in an email that his firm calculates TikTok's "year-over-year growth [landing] closer to 521%." Damn.

ByteDance, a China-based technology company worth well north of $70 billion, is known for its Toutiao social media service, as well as TikTok. TikTok was formed out of the fusion of Musical.ly, which ByteDance bought in late 2017, and and its own application Douyin. The app is an unquestionable breakout success around the world.

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TikTok is so successful in the American market that various parts of the U.S. government banned its use due to concerns regarding its corporate parent's possible links to the Chinese government.

Tensions between the United States and China have risen in recent years, partially driven by the Trump administration's stance regarding trade, and have spilled over into the technology industry -- where the two countries had been inextricably linked.

Huawei and ByteDance are not the only Chinese companies caught -- fairly or not -- in the crossfire, but they are the among the best-known entities currently constrained by cross-Atlantic rancor.

ByteDance is an incredibly valuable company, at least according to its investors. The company is valued at nearly $80 billion as TechCrunch reported in 2018. It is considered an IPO candidate for 2020. Perhaps TikTok's explosive growth in in-app revenue will help it file with the SEC.