SoftBank Vision Fund Confirms Investment In China’s Bytedance

Chinese content giant Bytedance, the operator of short-video social platform TikTok and news recommendation app Toutiao, has secured an undisclosed investment from SoftBank Group’s US$100 billion Vision Fund, a Japanese local media outlet reported on Tuesday.

SoftBank said in an email reply to China Money Network that Bytedance is one of the investees of SoftBank Vision Fund as of September 30. But it declined to disclose any other details.

Back in October, Chinese tech news provider 36Kr reported that Bytedance has raised a total of US$3 billion from SoftBank and other investors at a valuation of US$75 billion. There has been constant rumors of the company raising new financing, while the firm is reportedly seeking to float its shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange in 2019.

Founded in March 2012, Beijing-based Bytedance owns a series of content platforms that enable customers to connect, consume and create content. The company is the operator behind China’s news recommendation app Toutiao and short-video social platform TikTok, which is also known as Douyin in China.

According to app researcher Apptopia, TikTok topped the ranking in the number of U.S. downloads from both the Google Play and Apple App Store in October. It ranked ahead of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.

TikTok said on July 16 that its global monthly active users have exceeded 500 million. In terms of its presence in China, the company recorded 150 million daily active users and 300 million monthly active users as of June, 2018. Its parent company Bytedance acquired in late 2017 for close to US$1 billion.

Bytedance, the fourth largest unicorn in China according to China Money Network’s China Unicorn Ranking, last raised a US$2 billion funding round in August 2017, led by American private equity firm General Atlantic.

The company also counts Sequoia Capital, Weibo and SIG China, and tech investment firm DST Global among its previous investors.