SoftBank’s $3 billion round investment has crowned TikTok owner Bytedance the world’s most valuable startup as reported by Bloomberg.
Bytedance is the owner of TikTok which is the most popular karaoke video app of 15-sec limit and huge Chinese news aggregator Toutiao, is now valued at $75 billion, which takes it past Uber’s most recent figure of $72 billion. Another TikTok like app was recently developed and published by Facebook is known as Lasso.
Uber is reported to be considering an IPO for next year that would value it at $120 billion, but for now, Bytedance is on top, which is a huge achievement for a company that until recently had very little presence outside of China.
TikTok was acquired as Musical.ly and merged into Bytedance’s own Douyin service as TikTok. It is a major sensation among teens in the West and has apparently already achieved the social media rite of passage of having Facebook attempt to clone it.
Toutiao is one of the most prominent apps in China, with hundreds of millions of daily and monthly active users. The app using AI aggregate and recommend news stories, and makes money for Bytedance through advertising in the feed. Bytedance made $2.5 billion in revenue last year, according to Bloomberg’s figures, but like most startups in its position is not yet profitable.
Toutiao and Bytedance have fallen foul of Chinese government censors this year; the news app was temporarily removed from app stores while another app, the satirical meme-focused Neihan Duanzi, was shut down altogether. Bytedance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming published an open letter apologizing for “publishing a product that collided with core socialist values.”