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How Zhang Yiming built ByteDance into a global app behemoth.

Zhang Yiming is leading a new generation of Chinese tech moguls

Jane Li
Member exclusive by Jane Li for China’s first global app

Let’s step back to 2013.

China is having a Silicon Valley moment, even though its tech firms are largely under the radar of US consumers. The country’s red-hot messaging app WeChat has just set up its first US office. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is trying to woo US consumers. And US-listed Chinese cyber security firm Qihoo 360’s market value has surpassed $10 billion on the New York Stock Exchange.

To Zhang Yiming, a little-known Chinese tech entrepreneur at the time, Qihoo’s success in the US was a sign of change to come. “$1 billion is no longer a benchmark for internet companies. It should be $10 billion,” the 30-year-old wrote at the time.