In March 2021, the world’s most valuable startup, ByteDance Ltd was being threatened by Trump, a Beijing tech crackdown and an Indian blacklist. The Trump administration wanted this Chinese company, which owns the most downloaded video-sharing app, to get rid of it’ s assets. Still ByteDance kept growing. Now Zhang Yiming, the chief executive officer and founder of ByteDance Ltd has added his name in the list of the world’ s richest people in the world.
In the private market the shares of the company value more than $250 billion, according to sources. Hence, Zhang who owns almost a quarter of ByteDance, could have a fortune of $60 billion. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhang’ s fortune places him alongside Tencent Holdings Ltd’ s Pony Ma, bottled-water king Zhong Shanshan.
According to CB Insights, ByteDance reached a $180 billion valuation from $20 billion which was about three years ago. But some investors recently wanted valuation equivalent to $350 billion to part of their shares. Its value for private equity investors is approaching $400 billion, which would mean an even bigger fortune for the Tik Tok owner.
But being wealthy in China is very tough. This is because Chinese government seeks to rein in the country’ s most powerful companies and their founders. ByteDance hasn’t been a target yet, but it’ s dominance in social media ( most popular for Tik Tok) has made the government look into it.
Zhang was born in the southern Chinese city of Longyan. He studied programming at Tianjin’ s Nankai University. Just after graduating, he joined Microsoft Corp and later found the boring. However in 2012, he created ByteDance’ s first hit – a joke sharing app and later founded Tik Tok. Afterwords it started winning over 1 billion global users with it’ s short-video platforms TikTok and Douyin. It attracted big-shot investors such as SoftBank Group Corp., Susquehanna International Group. This makes it one of the biggest Chinese internet startups.