App-etite for growth
Even as it fends off threats to its U.S. presence, TikTok plans to double the size of its Austin workforce this year.
Company spokeswoman Laura Perez says TikTok’s Austin office, at West 15th and Lavaca streets, employs close to 100 people. By the end of this year, that number should grow to about 200, she says. In all, the popular video-sharing app wants to add hundreds of employees in Austin, although Perez wasn’t able to provide a targeted headcount.
“We’re proud to build our presence in Austin and be a part of the thriving business and tech community locally,” Blake Chandlee, the Austin-based vice president of global business solutions at TikTok, says in a statement provided to CultureMap.
“The Austin community embodies the same creative and entrepreneurial spirit that defines the TikTok community, and we are going to do all we can to ensure our company’s future in Texas and the U.S.,” Chandlee adds. “Our goal is to be here for years to come for our users, our creators, and for the 1,500 people we currently employ in America [and] the 10,000 people we intend to hire here, including the hundreds of new jobs we’re bringing to Austin.”
TikTok’s U.S. operations are based in Culver City, California. The company’s Austin location is home to its brand partnerships team, comprising people working mostly in sales, account management, and operations. An August 11 check of TikTok’s careers page showed 46 job openings in Austin.
TikTok opened its Austin location in March, five months before President Trump issued an executive order banning the social media app from operating in the U.S. in 45 days unless the app's Chinese parent company sells its U.S. operations. About 100 million people in the U.S. use the TikTok platform.
In an August 6 statement, the White House said TikTok’s collection of customer data “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”
TikTok fired back at the Trump administration in an August 7 statement.
“For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the U.S. government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed,” TikTok said. “What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”
Since Trump’s signing of the executive order, Microsoft and Twitter have expressed interest in buying the U.S. operations of TikTok’s parent company. That company, ByteDance Ltd., was founded in 2012. Four years later, ByteDance introduced the app, which became available in the U.S. in 2018.
TikTok reportedly is valued at $50 billion.