Consumers visit a booth for Bytedance Technology, which owns news aggregation app Jinri Toutiao and short video app Tik Tok, at the China International Software Expo in Beijing in June. PHOTO: CHINA STRINGER NETWORK/REUTERS
Michael K. Spencer
ByteDance will be a pretty epic IPO to watch in 2019. Certainly bigger than Uber. A few years ago that might have been surprising. How quickly things do change.
With Softbank dipping their toes into ByteDance, it’s now the world’s most valuable startup ahead of Uber. ByteDance isn’t just a news aggregation app company, it’s the leading AI company at the intersection of viral apps creating an empire with a CEO smarter than Mark Zuckerberg.
Sure Jinri Toutiao mobile news app and TikTok are impressive — but these are just the beginning. This is not like Facebook that has had to acquire apps to innovate and scale. ByteDance creates new apps and scales at a far faster speed without relying just on advertising.
In a year that has seen trade wars and weird transitions for BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent), taking off $130 Billion in their stocks, ByteDance has really come of age with Tik Tok’s explosive growth. Of course you barely hear about this in the West, because California’s tech news pub machine is obsessed with, oh — itself — no kidding.
CBInsights slowly has given the edge to ByteDance over Uber in terms of market cap, but we’ve seen this a long time coming. This is not news for those who follow the Chinese Tech scene, a far more interesting ecosystem these days than the U.S. scene.
LinkedIn Editors state software engineer Zhang Yiming founded Bytedance six years ago as a news aggregation app powered by artificial intelligence. The company’s optimistic valuation stems from its unique creation of an internet experience “that’s a cross between Google and Facebook.” Tencent and Facebook have a lot to learn from these guys since they are the world’s best at personalizing the user experiences in app via AI.
It’s not just BAT that’s showing the emergence of a Chinese tech dynasty, it’s all the rest. ByteDance is like a titan of AI meets content. It’s not a copy of the West, it’s an improvement from anything we’ve seen come out of Silicon Valley, and that’s the point that California VC has to realize. With Softbank and Tencent they are being out-innovated and it’s now extending to blockchain and crypto spaces as well.
Google never understood how to relate to consumers or build hardware products and it’s seeing Amazon run over it. As Amazon scales in to advertising more it will be tough. Facebook exploited its most valuable product, its own users. ByteDance is redefining micro video and news content — in a way that Facebook and Google could only dream of doing. It’s actually good competition for Tencent at home. China’s internet might be a bifurcation of the internet, but it’s increasingly looking like it’s the more innovative web.
We know what’s coming, the trinity of Didi Chuxing; Meituan-Dianping and ByteDance. The future of Chinese tech giants isn’t just BAT, it’s DMB. It’s BAT-DMB.
Today ByteDance is on its way to a more than US$75 billion valuation — a price tag that surpasses Uber Technologies to top the world, according to CB Insights. I don’t have to say I told you so, but today I am.
Source Medium Daily.