Zhang Yiming, the 38-year-old Chinese billionaire who founded TikTok, is soon expected to become one among the world’s richest with a valuation of $60 billion, Bloomberg reported.
According to the CNBC report TikTok itself has been valued at $50 billion by investors amongst talks of takeover in the US. ByteDance, the firm which owns Tik Tok, has expanded into the e-commerce and gaming sectors as well.
ByteDance, which also owns Chinese app Douyin and Toutiao, had a turbulent year, with a crackdown on its products in the countries it operated.
Last year was particularly stressful for Zhang Yiming and Bytedance. Forced asset sales in the US at the behest of the Trump Administration, blacklisting in India of its most popular apps, and increased scrutiny in China as the country sought to regulate its mega-corporations.
Despite all the recent roadblocks, the group’s private valuation is now at more than $250 billion, according to the CNBC report. This makes Zhang Yiming, who owns nearly a quarter of the company, worth more than $60 billion, which would place him higher than Michael Bloomberg and Jack Ma in the Forbes Billionaire Index.
Zhang Yiming has been described as patient and a long-term strategist by those close to him. During last year’s pressure on ByteDance to sell off its assets to Microsoft and Walmart, he decided to hold off on a complete sale instead of looking for a partnership solution.
That decision has now paid off. The valuation of TikTok has rocketed $20 billion higher than it was previously with a new administration in place.
Even though it is not clear if ByteDance will be able to overcome its continuing setbacks in India just like it did in the US, it seems easy to see that Zhang Yiming has secured his company.
The valuation of ByteDance is close to reaching $400 billion in private markets. The soaring valuation comes on the heels of new investments by the company in digital payment platforms and gaming acquisitions.
Zhang Yiming and ByteDance plan to use the gaming industry in China, trying to mobilise its audience of hundreds of millions of users. It will be competing with rival giants like Tencent and NetEase.