A Chinese internet technology company that operates several content platforms powered by machine learning and which recently had a rough interaction with Chinese government when China’s central government ordered to close its flagship popular app, Jinri Toutiao, because of its rude and sexually explicit content that are mostly jokes, is now the world’s most valuable startup beating America’s Uber.
Beijing, China-based ByteDance or Bytemod Pte Ltd has just raised a fresh round funding amounting US$3 billion that will value the startup at US$78-75 billion, more than Uber Technologies, which currently valued at US$72 billion, reported Bloomberg.
Bytedance is company behind popular video app Musical.ly and News Republic, a news and video aggregator . The startup is also the owner of popular apps in China including TikTok, karaoke video app, and huge Chinese news aggregator Toutiao.
With this remarkable achievement, ByteDance has done an unexpected thing no ‘Business Pundit’ had ever thought of, particularly because at $75 billion valuation this largely unknown startup has not just outran Uber but have also broke the dominance of its local competitor in China and internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent — the so-called BAT big three.
Now, ByteDance founder Yiming Zhang will join league of Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Baidu’s Robin Li and one may expect an increased traction of ByteDance in south east Asian countries particularly in India, Singapore and Indonesia. Zhang has recently been included in a China’s list of 100 entrepreneurs lauded for their “great achievements in the development of the private economy” over the past 40 years.
ByteDance has an India connection too, as in 2016 the Chinese firm had made a major investment of $25 million in DailyHunt, India’s leading local language app.
In 2017, ByteDance had acquired a US-based popular short-form video app, Flipagram. In 2017, ByteDance acquired global news app News Republic and global video community musical.ly. After it acquired music start-up musical.ly, the company combined the two platforms into a single application under the TikTok name. It also runs BuzzVideo and Vigo Video.
In global tech community, ByteDance is known for its flagship app Toutiao, which is also the startup’s core product. Toutiao was started out as a news recommendation engine and gradually evolved into a platform delivering content in a variety of formats, such as texts, images, question-and-answer posts, microblogs, and videos. Toutiao offers its users personalized information feeds that are powered by machine learning algorithms. A content feed is updated based on what the machine learns about a user’s reading preferences.
ByteDance’s investors include General Atlantic, SoftBank, KKR & Co and Primavera Capital Group, according to Crunchbase, which tracks venture capital investments.