Toutiao is a mobile app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to personalize streams of news, videos, and other digital content for its readers, and generates revenue through advertising that is also tailored to precision-target consumers. In August, Reuters reported that Toutiao, valued at $500 million in 2014, was “raising at least $2 billion at a valuation of over $20 billion in its latest funding round.”
Now The Information reports (paywall) that Toutiao tried last year to buy Reddit, the anarchic social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website.
- The attempted acquisition “reveals the Chinese company’s ambitions to become a global media juggernaut.”
- The article says that “Toutiao’s management team has been studying the U.S. market and building relationships with U.S. media company executives,” and the company “is still actively looking for partnerships, investments and acquisition targets in the U.S. and elsewhere.”
- Toutiao invested in a news aggregation startup in India last year, and runs an English-language news app called TopBuzz.
Why is Toutiao so popular in China? My theory is that while most Chinese news sites and apps are full of boring content because of state control, censorship, and propaganda, Toutiao makes it possible to see a feed of only the stuff that interests an individual reader, and ignore everything else. Therefore it is arguable whether Toutiao’s technology and experience in China will prove useful abroad.
The waste management business
39 held as China expands crackdown on ‘foreign garbage’ imports / SCMP
“Thousands of tonnes of plastic and mineral waste seized as part of latest drive targeting illegal waste imports.”
WWE sees ‘massive opportunity’ in China and India / CNBC
Triple H, a performer for the “wrestling” entertainment company WWE said they “would look to stimulate the most growth in China and India over the coming months.”
China’s second-largest bank unveils easy loan in push for rental housing market / Reuters
China Construction Bank “has unveiled a credit loan product for home renters.”
China aircraft exports cleared for takeoff under FAA deal / WSJ (paywall)
“Just ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to China, U.S. aviation regulators signed a new pact with their Chinese counterparts that effectively opens the door to selling China-made airplanes and parts to the U.S. and other countries.”
China’s technology ambitions could upset the global trade order / NYT (paywall)
Bargaining chip? China seen closely scrutinizing Qualcomm, Broadcom deal / Reuters
Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent initiatives will help China ‘aggressively’ narrow AI gap with U.S. / SCMP
Suning’s big data-driven unmanned store opens in Shanghai / TechNode
Bilibili and regulation: How one video company is thriving on youth-generated content / TechNode
Used car trading platform Uxin steers for an U.S. IPO / TechNode