Chinese News App Valued at $11B, Startup Competes With Facebook

By Ben Chelnistky | CHINA

A new Chinese app founded by a former Microsoft employee is becoming quite popular, according to a new CNNMoney article. Called Toutiao, meaning “Headlines,” the app uses artificial intelligence to create specific feeds of news and videos.

According to CB Insights, the startup is valued at $11 billion, around $1 billion away from SpaceX’s valuation.

The app was created by 33-year-old Zhang Yiming, who spends his free time writing code. The app analyzes users’ social media interactions and collects information from more than 4,000 media partnerships (CNNMoney).

Executives think they developed some of the best content-recommendation technology. The system is different from popular platforms like Facebook because it shows news without the need to follow certain accounts. 

The amount of daily active users on the app doubled last year to 78 million, and it now reportedly has 100 million. The app is coming close to Weibo’s record of 154 million daily active users. Weibo is essentially China’s version of Twitter, and like how Twitter falls behind Facebook, Toutiao and Weibo fall behind Facebook’s 1.28 billion.

The company is now considering going public, perhaps with an America IPO (initial public offering). The task at hand for them is to continue to innovate and provide a service the broader markets will enjoy.




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