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ByteDance, the company behind the globally popular app TikTok, is currently navigating a complex and volatile business landscape.

Here’s a quick rundown of recent developments:

  • Valuation Shift: Last year saw a significant drop in ByteDance’s valuation. The company’s worth plummeted by 26%, settling at a still-impressive $223.5B.
  • Share Buybacks: In an unexpected move, ByteDance has begun purchasing shares back from its US employees. The total value of this buyback operation is reported to be around $300M.
  • Investment Climate: The buyback scheme comes as the investment frenzy of 2020/2021 winds down, forcing many startups to take ‘valuation haircuts’.
  • Regulatory Scrutiny: ByteDance’s crown jewel, TikTok, has raised eyebrows among US lawmakers. The app faces scrutiny regarding allegations of undue influence from the Chinese government, which ByteDance denies.
  • Public Concerns: In addition to regulatory pressures, public concerns about TikTok’s impact on children’s mental health and potential influence over Americans have also been raised.

Despite these challenges, ByteDance reported an impressive operating profit of nearly $6B in Q1 of 2023, almost doubling the previous year’s figures.

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