TikTokâs turnover in Europe grew 545% to $170.8 million last year as advertisers upped their spending on the platform, according to a filing with the U.K.âs company registry on Monday.
The filing, submitted to Companies House, shows how TikTok has invested heavily in scaling up its European business as it looks to take on rivals likeÂ Facebook, Instagram,Â YouTube, andÂ Snap.
Losses at the Chinese-owned firm soared from $118.7 million in 2019 to $644.3 million in 2020.A TikTok spokesperson told CNBC that the results âreflect an exciting period of growth for the business.ââWe saw revenue increase significantly as our community grew, and weâve continued to invest aggressively in building a solid foundation for the long-term success of the platform,â they said.
Staff has been one of TikTokâs biggest expenses. The companyâs headcount in Europe rose by over 1,000 people last year, going from 208 in 2019 to 1,294 in 2020. TikTok declined to comment when CNBC asked how many staff it has elsewhere in the world.
But in July the firm said it wanted to increase its U.S. workforce from 1,400 to 10,000.Beyond staff, TikTok also spent $344.9 million on selling and marketing expenses in 2020, up from $110.3 million in 2019, according to the filing.
TikTokâs Turnover Grew By 545% In Europe Last Year â But Losses Are Mounting
The company reported nearly 700 million monthly active users last summer.But TikTok is aware that the growth may not last forever. The company, which is owned by Chinaâs ByteDance, noted under a âbusiness riskâ section that it âfaces competition from internet companies that operate content-based social platforms.â
Indeed, Facebook and Snap are among TikTokâs biggest competitors and theyâre all fighting for advertising dollars.The size of these social media companies has led them to come under increasing levels of scrutiny from regulators in recent years.
Under a âcompliance riskâ section of the filing, TikTok noted that it is âsubject to a range of new and existing laws in a regulatory landscape that can change.âThe company has faced a number of setbacks, including a possible U.S. ban after the former Trump administration deemed its data storage and security a national security risk.
TikTok was to be sold to an American company if it wanted to keep operating widely, with Oracle later being named as its âtrusted technology provider.â
However, President Joe Bidenâs ascension to the White House allowed the company to continue operating as normal. In February, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Oracle deal had been âshelved indefinitely.â Biden this summer also signed an executive order that sets criteria for the government to evaluate the risk of apps connected to foreign adversaries.
The dramatic increase in TikTokâs European headcount comes even thoughÂ some people have been turning down jobsÂ at the video-sharing company over fears that it has a so-called 996 culture.The 996 culture is practiced by some companies in China.
The name is derived from the employeesâ requirement of working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for six days in a week, which works out at 72 hours per week.
Meanwhile, the norm in the U.S. and the U.K. is around 40 hours per week, although many workers go over this. Itâs illegal to work more than 48 hours per week in the U.K. on average. TikTok denied that such a culture exists.â
Like any fast-growing start-up, employees work hard at TikTok and some functions occasionally have emergency off-hours work, but we absolutely do not have â996â² policies,â a spokesperson told CNBC in May.
They added: âTeams like user support or safety, whose work requires round-the-clock coverage, stagger on-call hours to arrange continuous service for our customers. As our employees continue to scale, requests that fall outside of working hours are the exception rather than the norm.â