China Based News Aggregation Platform Toutiao Raising $2 Billion Funding
China based News Aggregation Platform, Toutiao means “headlines” in Chinese backed by Sequoia Capital and CCB International, is raising at least $2 billion at a valuation of over $20 billion in its latest funding round, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The fundraising comes after the startup raised $1 billion at an $11 billion valuation toward the end of 2016, according to two of the people.
U.S.-based private equity firm General Atlantic is among potential new investors and could be leading the round, one of them said.
Toutiao and General Atlantic declined to comment on the fundraising.
The sources declined to be identified as the talks were not public.
News Aggregation Platform Toutiao was founded in March 2012 by Zhang Yiming in March 2012, is one of the fastest-growing tech startups in China. Its valuation has leapt around forty-fold within three years – it was valued at just $500 million in June 2014 – as customized news feed models become increasingly popular with China’s highly mobile population.
Toutiao uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to select news, online books, videos and other content for readers, with the bulk of its revenue coming from advertising.
Nasdaq-listed Weibo Corp (WB.O), a Twitter-like social media platform which became a Toutiao investor in 2014, this week criticized a third-party news platform for unauthorized access to its content. The criticism was widely seen as targeted at Toutiao.
Weibo is no longer an investor in Toutiao, according to two of the people.
Toutiao, alongside other tech companies, has also been the subject of scrutiny from Chinese regulators reviewing cyber security. It set up a cyber-security committee in June to inspect its content and users.