TikTok was the most visited site in the world in 2021. According to cloud infrastructure company Cloudflare Inc., which tracks Internet traffic, the app even surpassed last year’s leader Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The popular app, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, was ranked seventh last year behind Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Netflix and Amazon, according to Cloudflare’s web traffic rankings.
TikTok fans use smartphone applications or browsers to watch short videos that are engaging and are suggested by the app’s algorithms. These algorithms have been a topic of interest in the digital marketing world as they have led to the rapid development of apps. A report by Domo.com states that about 167 million TikTok videos are streamed every minute of every day, and Google, which handles about 90 percent of all Internet searches, performs 5.7 million searches every minute.
TikTok also gave young social media influencers an opportunity to become a household name. American social media personalities and dancers Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio became wildly popular thanks to TikTok and were later cast in TV shows, movies, and commercials.
According to previous reports from The Wall Street Journal, the key to assessing user interest in an app is the amount of time he or she spends watching video content. Re-watching the content also makes a difference in the scoring of Tiktok.
Cloudflare said the app first began topping the charts as the world’s most visited Internet site in February. It saw great popularity in August, maintaining the top spot for the rest of the year.
TikTok is the only non-US site to have ranked in the top 10 internet sites. The other nine sites were Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, Twitter and WhatsApp. Notably, this year, Meta’s social media app Instagram was no longer in the top 10 as it was replaced by WhatsApp, also the instant messaging app owned by Meta. Meta owned two of the websites on the top 10 list as did Alphabet.
The app also topped Cloudflare’s list of top 10 social media domains, followed by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Quora. Tiktok is banned in India.
Chinese billionaire Zhang Yiming
Chinese billionaire Zhang Yiming, 38, who founded TikTok, is expected to soon become one of the richest people in the world with a valuation of $60 billion.
TikTok itself has been valued at $50 billion by investors amid acquisition talks in the US. ByteDance, the owner of Tik Tok, has also expanded into the e-commerce and gaming sectors.
ByteDance, which also owns Chinese apps Douyin and Toutiao, had a turbulent year, with actions on its products in the countries it operates in.
Last year was a particularly tense one for Zhang Yiming and Baidens. Forced asset sales in the US at the behest of the Trump administration, the blacklisting of its most popular app in India, and increased scrutiny in China as the country sought to regulate its mega-corporation.
Despite all the recent odds, the group’s private valuation is now over $250 billion, according to a CNBC report. That makes Zhang Yiming, who owns nearly a quarter of the company, which is worth more than $60 billion, which would place him higher than Michael Bloomberg and Jack Ma on the Forbes Billionaires Index.
Zhang Yiming has been described by those close to him as a patient and long-term strategist. Last year under pressure from ByteDance to sell its assets to Microsoft and Walmart, they decided to hold off on the entire sale rather than seek a partnership solution.
That decision has now paid off. The valuation of TikTok has risen to $20 billion more than it previously was with a new administration.
While it’s unclear whether ByteDance will be able to overcome its continued setbacks in India as it did in the US, it seems easy to see that Zhang Yiming has secured his company.
The valuation of ByteDance in the private markets is close to reaching $400 billion. The soaring valuation comes on the heels of new investments by the company in digital payments platform and gaming acquisitions.
Zhang Yiming and ByteDance plan to use the gaming industry in China to try to garner their audience of millions of users. It will compete with rival giants like Tencent and NetEase.