Who owns TikTok and when was it created?

Alice Sjöberg
TikTok loading screen

TikTok has skyrocketed and become one of the world’s biggest social media platforms in just a few years. But who owns the app, and when was it created? Here’s everything you need to know.

Within the space of a couple of years, TikTok has become the most popular social media platform out there, with millions of daily users and a huge selection of viral content.

The app has helped launch the careers of people like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae, and its viral power has tempted plenty of other people to make accounts and try to grow a following of their own.

As TikTok has become a staple in millions of people’s everyday lives, it’s hard to imagine life without it. So when was the app created and who owns it? Here’s everything you need to know.

TikTok as shown on a smartphone.
Who owns TikTok?

Who owns TikTok?

TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and is available in more than 150 countries. It was founded by the company’s former CEO, Zhang Yiming, who created the company in 2012 from his apartment in Beijing, China.

In 2014, the app Musical.ly — which had similar features to the future TikTok app — was launched in China. By 2017, Musical.ly was one of the most popular apps in the world and was purchased by ByteDance for about $1 billion.

In 2016, ByteDance launched Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. The following year, the company also launched TikTok to cater to a more global audience. In 2018, the company merged TikTok with Musical.ly to drastically expand its user base and gave it access to a larger pool of users and content creators.