Beijing Bytedance's Toutiao raised $2 billion by General Atlantic

Toutiao raised a new US$2 billion funding led by General Atlantic. The Chinese Toutiao news aggregator suported by Sequoia Capital and CCB International has secured a new funding of more than US$2 billion in valuations of US$20 billion. The fundraising was driven by previous reports that the startup had added US$1 billion in valuations of US$11 billion by the end of 2016.

Tinuku Beijing Bytedance's Toutiao raised $2 billion by General Atlantic

A source said private equity firm based in the United States, General Atlantic, raised the startup valuation. Both refused to comment on the fundraising. Toutiao was founded by 34-year-old businessman Zhang Yiming in March 2012 as one of the fastest-growing technology startups in China.

Valuation has risen about 40-fold in just three years where the company's value in 2014 was only US$500 million. Customized news feed platforms are becoming increasingly popular among the highly mobile population of China.

Analysts say Toutiao, Meituan-Dianping, and Didi Chuxing collectively known as "TMD" are seen to be the next BAT in China. BAT is a technological trinity of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.

Toutiao which means "headlines" in Chinese so far uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to choose news, online books, videos and other content for users with most of the revenue coming from advertising.

The company already has 100 million active users daily in the first quarter of 2017 and they are targeting annual revenues of US$2.5 billion. Two of Toutiao's biggest competitors in the Chinese market are Tencent Tian Tian Kuai Bao and Baidu newsfeed.

Tencent who operated the WeChat messaging app in April filed a lawsuit against Toutiao for copyright infringement. Beijing Bytedance Technology Co. Ltd., which owns Toutiao in June, accused Tencent Tian Tian Kuai Bao on similar charges.

Beijing Bytedance also has a Flipagram based in Los Angeles as a mobile video sharing network acquired in February and an English-language TopBuzz news app that separately led the US$25 million funding last October for the Indian Dailyhunt news aggregator.