Media Observed
If LinkedIn’s numbers are anything to go by, TikTok has overtaken Meta for number of employees based in Australia. That score is currently 561 to 551.
Those numbers are likely not exact but a good rough guide. Facebook Australia reported 150-odd people in its most recent filings with the corporate regulator, which doesn’t include Instagram. TikTok doesn’t report its headcount in its filings. Also, people forget to update their profiles.
TikTok is currently hiring for 88 roles in Australia, including 68 engineers and someone to join its “transfer pricing team”.  
But where Meta has loudly slashed its workforce by at least 10 per cent this year, TikTok has gone the other way. When we last reported TikTok’s pitch – which, put simply, was: ‘if you’ve just lost your gig at Facebook or Twitter, come work for us!’ – there were “as many as” 17 jobs going at the Chinese-owned video and social platform.
There are now 88 roles currently going in Sydney and Melbourne at TikTok. That’s well more than the 83 listed as the entire Australian workforce at its competitor, Snapchat. Of those 88, some 68 are various forms of engineer, while 27 are in a group called “trust and safety” team. Incidentally, if you asked most people on the street what TikTok lacked, they’d probably say something like “trust” and, er, um, “safety”.
One enterprising individual is wanted to join TikTok’s “transfer pricing team”, being the group responsible for moving money between TikTok’s entities – or, as the job ad says: “tax optimisation”.
“We expect this role to face some of the most dynamic challenges in Transfer Pricing and to have plenty of learning and growth opportunities,” the listing says.
What a pitch that is! Come help this China-owned social media behemoth minimise the amount of tax they pay in Australia. We hear some PwC partners might be looking for work. Someone alert the tax office.
TikTok Australia is owned by TikTok Ltd, which is owned by Bytedance Ltd, which is incorporated and domiciled in the Cayman Islands, its corporate filings say.
TikTok has been ramping up its physical and commercial presence in Australia, eating into the share of advertising revenue and consumer attention from other entertainment companies. It almost tripled revenue to $173.9 million in 2022 from $66 million in 2021. Despite an uncertain advertising market, it’s expected to keep growing that share.
TikTok had 394 people based in Australia, as of October, implying 42 per cent growth in workforce to its current level.
Social networks usually argue they’re just a humble local sales outpost. (Remember when Facebook spent a year arguing it wasn’t actually “carrying on business” in Australia in 2014, despite its 12 million users at the time?)
It doesn’t take many people on the ground to manage $5 billion in ads for Meta, for instance, which reported $1.26 billion in ‘reseller revenue’ in 2022. Which is why it is significant that TikTok is ramping up its workforce so rapidly.
On Tuesday afternoon this week, TikTok will host its second annual upfront event, the #ForYou Summit, where it will present its content and plans to entice a packed audience of advertising executives.
Perhaps if you’re going along, remember to update your CV.
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