Bytedance, the Chinese firm that owns short video sharing app TikTok, has been valued as the world's largest internet startup following a new funding round that is reported to have raised $3bn (£2.34bn).
According to reports from Forbes and Bloomberg, the latest round of investment, which included activity from Softbank Group, General Atlantic, Primavera Caputal Group and KKR & Co, brings the firm's valuation to $75bn. The new figure sees the company overtake Uber, which previously held the top spot with a most recent valuation of $72bn, although rumours are circulating that the ride-sharing service may go public next year with a valuation as high as $120bn.
Bytedance operates a range of digital media platforms, but is best known for TikTok, which recently integrated similar service Musical.ly after it was acquired by Bytedance for $1bn. Bytedance also boasts 120m Chinese users for its AI-based news aggregator Toutiao, and a China-only version of TikTok (called Douyin) as well as international equivalents of Toutiao are also in operation. The firm keeps a careful fence between different versions of its various services, primarily due to censorship concerns within China and rights management needs.
Bytedance operates outside the domination of the so-called BAT Big Three - Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent - China's largest tech firms, and has drawn considerable interest both at home and internationally, with Google reportedly working on a Toutiao-style app for China and Facebook developing a clone of TikTok.