HONG KONG — In america, the fortunes of large social media firms reminiscent of Fb and Twitter have wobbled as they’ve been blamed for abetting abusive discourse and internet hosting malicious political affect campaigns.
However in China, the titans of social media are nonetheless getting larger and richer.
Bytedance, the creator of the information aggregator Jinri Toutiao, the video-sharing service Tik Tok and a fleet of different leisure apps, is in discussions to boost new funding that will worth the enterprise at $75 billion, in line with folks acquainted with the matter who requested anonymity to debate confidential talks.
The Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is among the many traders concerned within the talks, one in every of these folks mentioned.
A $75 billion valuation would make Bytedance one of many world’s most precious personal tech firms — Uber was not too long ago valued at $76 billion. It will additionally give Bytedance monetary heft similar to that of some publicly traded high-tech leaders. Baidu, maker of China’s dominant search engine, has a market capitalization of round $80 billion.
A spokeswoman for Bytedance declined to remark. The talks with SoftBank have been reported earlier by The Info.
Within the six years for the reason that firm’s founding, Bytedance’s apps have grow to be a serious draw for customers — and advertisers — on this planet’s largest on-line inhabitants. And the corporate needs to overcome cellphone screens far past China, too.
Final yr, it bought Musical.ly, a video-based social network popular with teenagers in the United States and Europe, and folded it into Tik Tok. Musical.ly had been notable for being one of the rare Chinese social media companies to have attracted a significant following outside China.
Today, half a billion people worldwide use either Tik Tok or its Chinese edition, Douyin, every month, Bytedance says. By comparison, Instagram, where short, homemade videos are also a major draw, has more than a billion users.
Coming from China, where the government maintains strict and ever-changing controls on information, Bytedance has weathered unique turbulence as it has grown. Last year, the company had to suspend updates to its news app Toutiao after China’s internet regulator accused it of spreading unsavory material. This April, a Bytedance app for sharing bawdy jokes and videos was ordered offline entirely.
The authorities in Indonesia briefly banned Tik Tok this year for hosting “negative” content.
Zhang Yiming, Bytedance’s founder and chief executive, offered a display of contrition after the joke app, Neihan Duanzi, was shuttered. He apologized for the company’s failure to respect “core socialist values,” and thanked China’s government for enabling tech start-ups’ rapid development.
Mr. Zhang also said that Bytedance would expand its team for monitoring content to 10,000 people from 6,000.
Follow Raymond Zhong on Twitter: @zhonggg.