Bytedance seeking to raise $3 billion privately

Tinuku - Beijing Bytedance Technology Co Ltd., the start-up behind hit Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, is seeking to raise US$3 billion in a funding round, the person 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 talks have not been finalised and the amount and valuation could still change, the person said.

At US$75 billion, Bytedance would become the world’s most valuable start-up by eclipsing Uber Technologies Inc. at US$68 billion and its Chinese ride-hailing rival Didi Chuxing at US$56 billion, according to CB Insights data. While Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is said to be valued at US$150 billion, CB Insights doesn’t count them as a start-up unicorn.

Tinuku Bytedance seeking to raise $3 billion privately

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.

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 app, which has about 100 million users and is being merged with Tik Tok, the company said this month.