Founder & CEO
Est. Net Worth
$4 billion Forbes
Zhang Yiming (张一鸣) is the founder and CEO of ByteDance, one of China’s largest multimedia content platforms. It is an internet tech company that operates several machine learning content platforms, including Toutiao, which is China’s most popular news app with more than 700 million users. The platform also runs the video apps Tik Tok, BuzzVideo, and Vigo Video.
ByteDance’s user experience has been touted as a cross between Facebook and Google, with Yiming describing it as a search business or social media platform.
“The most important thing is that we are not a news business,” Yiming explained in an interview from 2017. “We are more like a search business or a social media platform. We are doing very innovative work. We are not a copycat of a US company, both in product and technology.”
In the future, Yiming stresses the importance of developing fundamental technology while also making sure innovation remains dynamic.
Yiming founded the company in 2012, and by 2018 it was valued at $20 billion. With a long line of investors — including Softbank China Venture Capital, Primavera Capital Group, and KKR & Co. Inc — the word is that ByteDance is set to go public in 2019. When it does, it could be valued at up to $75 billion.
The self-made billionaire started off his journey into tech by attaining a software engineering degree from Nankai University. He has been listed on Forbes China’s 30 Under 30 list and Fortune’s China’s lists of 40 Business Elites Under 40 and 50 Business Pioneers In China.