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Chinese startup Toutiao raising funds at over $20 billion valuation



Chinese news aggregator Toutiao, backed by Sequoia Capital and CCB International, is raising at least $2 billion at a valuation of over $20 billion in its latest funding round, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The fundraising comes after the startup raised $1 billion at an $11 billion valuation toward the end of 2016, according to two of the people. U.S.-based private equity firm General Atlantic is among potential new investors and could be leading the round, one of them said. Toutiao, founded by 34-year-old entrepreneur Zhang Yiming in March 2012, is one of the fastest-growing tech startups in China. Its valuation has leapt around forty-fold within three years – it was valued at just $500 million in June 2014 – as customized news feed models become increasingly popular with China’s highly mobile population. Toutiao, which means “headlines” in Chinese, uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to select news, online books, videos and other content for readers, with the bulk of its revenue coming from advertising. With about 100 million daily active users as of the first quarter, Toutiao is targeting annual revenue of $2.5 billion for 2017, according to a person close to the company. Toutiao’s two biggest competitors in the market are Tencent’s Tian Tian Kuai Bao and Baidu’s newsfeed.

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