Home Startups AI Startup ByteDance to Raise Nearly $1.45B for AI Investments

AI Startup ByteDance to Raise Nearly $1.45B for AI Investments

Beijing-based ByteDance Technology Co is one of the most valuable AI startup in the world.

The company is popularly known for creating the famous video application dubbed TikTok.

According to recent details from the Information website, ByteDance is currently in talks to fundraise a $1.45 billion for its new fund.

The site reported that ByteDance, which is behind the ownership of Jinri Toutiao, is conducting negotiations with various investors including state-owned investment banking institutions and leading Chinese government-controlled funds.

ByteDance’s main product, Toutiao, is the leading content platform in China that began as a news recommendation platform before gradually evolving into an engine that delivers content into an array of formats like videos, microblogs, question-and-answer posts, texts, and images.

Toutiao provides users with personalized information feeds, which are all driven by machine learning algorithms.

The new fund is expected to drive media content and artificial intelligence (AI) for the $75 billion company, whose valuation is reported to have leapfrogged that of Uber after securing $3 billion in funding back in October.

The move by ByteDance comes after the company experienced increased scrutiny, especially from the Internet Censors in China at the beginning of 2018.

The Information also said that building closer ties with state-backed investors is vital for ByteDance, especially with its applications in China experiencing troubles with the nation’s regulators.

The Chinese-based startup has embarked on an aggressive expansion all over the world that will see it integrate Musical.ly, a teen video application, into TikTok.

Musical.ly and TikTok have 100 million and half a billion users respectively.

The move has triggered Facebook to develop a clone and Tencent to increase its investment in short videos.

Zhang Yiming, the company’s chief executive officer and founder, said in his speech back in June that ByteDance is targeting to count a minimum of 50 percent of all its users located abroad.

Back in China, several of ByteDance’s products including a humor application, a news portal and short-video platforms have elicited a lot of trouble from media watchdogs who have been imposing strict law over online content.

The worst punishment for the company came when the Chinese government closed Neihan Duanzi, which literally means “implied jokes” in Chinese, specifically for propagating “vulgar content.”

The Information website added that the Beijing-based media firm is looking for capital from state-owned investment banking institutions and government-driven funds for its novel venture fund.

The money could assist the six-year-old company in navigating its relationships with the local authorities.

In the meantime, ByteDance is recruiting thousands of censors in a bid to make sure that its content does not move away from China’s official guidelines, even though the company has always taken pride in its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to individualize recommendations to its users.

Considered as one of the world’s most valuable unicorns, ByteDance is an Internet technology company that operates several machine learning-powered content platforms.

Aside from acquiring Musical.ly, a music startup, the company integrated TikTok and Musical.ly into one application under the TikTok brand.

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KC Cheung
KC Cheung has over 18 years experience in the technology industry including media, payments, and software and has a keen interest in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks and its applications in business. Over the years he has worked with some of the leading technology companies, building and growing dynamic teams in a fast moving international environment.
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