TikTok has seen its profits rocket in the past year after the social media channel went viral as people were forced into lockdowns around the world.

The company, which sells itself as a video-sharing platform, allows users to create tutorials, dance moves and even workshops online, and some vloggers have earned a fortune on the back it.

ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the popular app, saw its earnings double to £24.5billion in 2020.

The tech giant also saw its annual gross profit rise by 93% to to $19billion, while it recorded a net loss of $45billion due to an accounting adjustment in the same period.

The memo also showed that ByteDance had around 1.9billion monthly active users across all of its platforms as of December last year.

But who owns the multi-billion app and where did the concept originate from?

ByteDance, along with TikTok, was founded by software enginnering graduate Zhang Yiming in 2012
Despite its popularity, the app has come under huge fire in the US in recent years over security concerns

ByteDance, along with TikTok, was founded by Chinese billionaire entrepreneur, Zhang Yiming in 2012.

After graduating Nankai University with a BA in Software Engineering in 2005, Yiming worked for a number of tech companies including Microsoft.

He founded his own tech firm in 2012, developed apps and news aggregation services, including TikTok under the umbrella name of ByteDance.

Today, Yiming, 37, is China’s seventh richest man, in 2019 Time Magazine described him as "the top entrepreneur in the world".

TikTok allows users to share up to 60 seconds of video - either creating their own content, or lip-syncing to popular songs, comedy sketches, or film scenes.

However, the app has come under huge fire in the US in recent years over security concerns.

Former President Donald Trump had accused TikTok of being a threat to US national security.

ByteDance, along with TikTok, was founded by software enginnering graduate Zhang Yiming in 2012
In a letter to employees, Mr Zhang said he would be succeeded by fellow co-founder Rubo Liang

He claimed parent company, ByteDance, would give the Chinese government access to user data upon request. TikTok has always deinied the accusation.

The company was reportedly in talks to be sold to American giant Oracle, however the sale is understood to have been shelved since the last US election.

In May, ByteDance announced that co-founder Zhang Yiming was stepping down. Yiming will transation into a new role by December, the company said.

In a letter to employees, Mr Zhang said he would be succeeded by fellow co-founder Rubo Liang.

"The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager. I'm more interested in analysing organizational and market principles, and leveraging these theories to further reduce management work, rather than actually managing people," Mr Zhang wrote in a message on the company's website.

"Similarly, I'm not very social, preferring solitary activities like being online, reading, listening to music, and contemplating what may be possible," he added.