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Bloomberg

TikTok Founder’s $60 Billion Fortune Places Him Among The World’s Richest People

(Bloomberg) — Just last year, the world’s most valuable startup, ByteDance Ltd., was being squeezed from all sides.The Trump administration wanted the Chinese firm, which owns the ubiquitous TikTok video-sharing platform, to get rid of assets. Beijing was cracking down on tech businesses, and India blacklisted some of its social-media apps.For all the obstacles, ByteDance kept growing. Now its founder, 38-year-old Zhang Yiming, is among the world’s richest people — a distinction that lately has carried increased risks in China.Shares of the company trade in the private market at a valuation of more than $250 billion, people familiar with the dealings have said. At that level, Zhang, who owns about a quarter of ByteDance, could be worth more than $60 billion, placing him alongside Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma, bottled-water king Zhong Shanshan and members of the Walton and Koch families in the U.S., according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.ByteDance, famous for its short-video apps and news aggregator Toutiao, more than doubled revenue last year after expanding beyond its core advertising business into areas such as e-commerce and online gaming. It’s now weighing options for the initial public offering of some businesses.“Zhang is someone who’s known for thinking long-term and not easily dissuaded by short-term setbacks,” said Ma Rui, partner at venture-capital firm Synaptic Ventures. “He is set on building an enduring, global business.”Surging ValuationDuring its last fundraising round, ByteDance reached a $180 billion valuation, a person with knowledge of the matter said. That’s up from $20 billion about three years ago, according to CB Insights. But in the private market, some investors recently were asking for the equivalent of a $350 billion valuation to part with their shares, people familiar have said. The company’s value for private-equity investors

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