TMTpost Alerts: TouTiao Has Closed $1 Bln Series D Financing Round Led By Sequoia Capital

摘要: Multiple sources have confirmed that TouTiao had completed $1bln series D financing round of near the end of 2016. With this latest round of financing led by Sequoia Capital and CBC International, TouTiao’s capitalization would reach over $12 billion.

(Chinese Version)

APRIL, 7TH, BEIJING. Multiple sources have confirmed that TouTiao had completed $1 billion series D financing round of near the end of 2016. With this latest round of financing led by Sequoia Capital and CBC International, TouTiao’s capitalization would reach over $12 billion.

Besides, it’s revealed that Zhou Hongyi and Cao Guowei, board chairman of Sina and Qihoo 360, respectively, are no longer included in TouTiao’s shareholder list. While Sina transferred its stake to other internal investors, Zhou transferred his stake to TouTiao’s management body.

In fact, it was revealed as early as November 2016 that a $1 billion financing round has been completed to facilitate the overseas expansion plan (the US, Brazil and Japan, etc.) of TouTiao’s mother company, Beijing Bytedance Technology Co.,Ltd.

In addition, Liu Zhen, former senior vice president of UberChina, was in charge of this latest financing round. She used to govern Uber’s business in mainland China but joined TouTiao last November, three months after UberChina was merged with Didichuxing.

In June 2014, TouTiao completed a $100 million series C financing round, which was led by Sequoia Capital and followed by Sina Weibo. After the financing round, its valuation reached $500 million. However, within less than three years, its capitalization has risen by over twenty times. Imagine the huge return Sina Weibo could receive from its investment into TouTiao.

However, TouTiao was never short of rivals from major Chinese news portals in 2014, to BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, it was Baidu that first “declared war against” TouTiao.

Recently, Baidu shifted its strategy and re-focused its attention on content distribution. Besides Baidu, Tencent seemed to be also eyeing for a share of the market. Up till now, it has put away RMB 1.2 billion to give subsidies to we media users and invested RMB 350 million to Kuaishou, one of the most popular Chinese short video platform in the countryside as well as second and third-tier cities.

As of the end of 2015, it was reported that TouTiao’s DAU and MAU has reached 78 million and 175 million, respectively. Besides, average using time of these videos has reached also 76 minutes on average. While the daily view times of these short videos has reached $1.3 billion, the total play time has reached 27 million hours. If so, the total play time of TouTiao videos would have surpassed that of Youku and iQiyi.

However, some analysts believed that “globalization would become one of the major strategies in 2017”. In this case, Liu could be a really good help in developing TouTiao’s overseas merger & acquisition strategy. Some insiders revealed that although Liu wasn’t directly in charge of the internationalization business, she would offer necessary help from the aspect of strategy and investment.

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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @TMTpost-Chinese, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]

Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.

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