ByteDance said to seek up to US$3 billion in new funding round, mostly targeting US investors
At US$75 billion, ByteDance would become the world’s most valuable start-up by eclipsing Uber at $68 billion
Beijing ByteDance Technology, the start-up behind hit Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, is seeking to raise as much as US$3 billion in a funding round that is mostly targeting US investors, a person familiar with the matter said.
The fast-growing company held meetings with potential investors for a financing that could value ByteDance at as much as US$75 billion, the person said, asking to not be identified as the details are private. The talks have not been finalised and the amount and valuation could still change, the person said. The Wall Street Journal reported the funding earlier.
At US$75 billion, ByteDance would become the world’s most valuable start-up by eclipsing Uber Technologies at US$68 billion and its Chinese ride-hailing rival Didi Chuxing at US$56 billion, according to CB Insights data. While Ant Financial Services, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, is said to be valued at US$150 billion, CB Insights doesn’t count them as a start-up unicorn.
The Beijing-based company’s Toutiao app uses artificial intelligence to serve users a steady diet of personalised content and it has branched out to include a fast-growing short-video clip service called Douyin, known as Tik Tok abroad, with 500 million monthly active users.
ByteDance declined to comment on any potential funding plans.
The planned funding comes despite Chinese content-makers facing one of the harshest internet crackdowns in the country’s history. ByteDance, like many of its competitors, has seen several of its apps either temporarily pulled from China’s app stores or shut down entirely on the orders of Chinese regulators over allegedly inappropriate content.
ByteDance also owns the Musical.ly app, which has about 100 million users and is being merged with Tik Tok, the company said this month.