Apple CEO Tim Cook visits hot Chinese start-up Bytedance during Beijing trip

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 3:57pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 3:57pm

The head of the world’s only trillion-dollar company swung by the Beijing offices of the most valuable start-up as Apple’s Tim Cook continued his trip to China.

Photos of Cook walking through the headquarters of Bytedance, talking to workers and shaking hands with Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming, circulated Thursday and were posted on Chinese social media. Representatives for the start-up behind hit mobile news app Jinri Toutiao declined to comment while Apple representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Cook is visiting his most important overseas market less than a month after the latest iPhones went on sale. The Greater China region is critical to the company as it gets about a fifth of its sales from the region and most of its hardware is made in the country. The CEO has become a frequent visitor to the world’s No. 2 economy and its tech corporations. On previous jaunts, Cook also met with executives at ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing – which Apple backs – and bike rentals start-up Ofo.

Bytedance, which was founded in 2012, has shot up the rankings of the world’s start-ups thanks to the success of Toutiao and Tik Tok, a short-form video app. The company is said to be in the process of raising new funding from investors including SoftBank Group at a valuation of US$75 billion, eclipsing Uber Technologies as the world’s largest start-up.