Zhang Yiming is a Chinese internet entrepreneur. He founded ByteDance in 2012 and developed the news aggregator Toutiao and the video-sharing platform TikTok (Douyin). As of 2019, with more than 1 billion monthly users, ByteDance is valued at US$75 billion, making it the most valuable startup in the world. Zhang’s personal wealth is estimated at $13 billion, making him the ninth richest person in China. Zhang was born in April 1983. In 2001, he entered Nankai University in Tianjin, where he majored in microelectronics before changing to software engineering and graduated in 2005. He met his wife at the university.
In February 2006, Zhang became the fifth employee and the first engineer at the travel website Kuxun (酷讯) and was promoted to the technical director a year later. In 2008, Zhang left Kuxun to work for Microsoft, but felt stifled by the corporate rules of the company. He soon left Microsoft to join the startup Fanfou (饭否), which eventually failed. In 2009, when Kuxun was about to be acquired by Expedia, Zhang took over Kuxun’s real estate search business and started 99fang.com (九九房), his first company.
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