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Zhang Yiming Net Worth

What is Zhang Yiming’s Net Worth?

Zhang Yiming is a Chinese businessman and entrepreneur who has a net worth of $44 billion. That makes him one of the very richest people in China. Zhang Yiming is a billionaire Chinese Internet entrepreneur, best known for co-founding the company ByteDance and developing its popular video-sharing service TikTok. In 2021, he stepped down as CEO of ByteDance. ByteDance was founded in 2012. By 2019 it had more than 800 million daily users and a valuation of $75 billion. At that valuation, Zhang’s net worth topped $16 billion and that made him one of the youngest tech billionaires on the planet. He is believed to own 20% of ByteDance.

Early Life and Education

Zhang Yiming was born on April 1, 1983 in Longyan, Fujian, China as the only son of civil servants. For his higher education, he attended Nankai University in Tianjin, graduating with a degree in software engineering in 2005.

Career Beginnings

In early 2006, Zhang joined the travel booking website Kuxun, becoming one of its first employees and engineers. He left the company in 2008 to join Microsoft, but soon found himself displeased with the stringent corporate rules there. Zhang subsequently left and joined the startup Fanfou, which eventually failed. In 2009, when Expedia was in the process of acquiring Zhang’s former employer Kuxun, Zhang took over the latter’s real estate search business and launched his first company,, with his friend Liang Rubo.

ByteDance and Toutiao

In 2012, Zhang and his friend Liang Rubo founded the Internet technology company ByteDance. Their intent was to help smartphone users more easily find information through the use of artificial intelligence to generate recommendations based on users’ preferences and mobile interactions. This led to the creation of the company’s core product, the news and content platform Toutiao. Within two years of its launch, the platform had attracted over 13 million daily users.

In 2014, ByteDance received a $100 million investment from the American venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. Zhang subsequently focused on expanding the company internationally, which ran counter to many other Chinese tech CEOs committed primarily to the domestic growth of their companies. By late 2018, ByteDance was valued at around $75 billion, making it the most valuable startup in the world. Zhang stepped down as CEO of the company in late 2021, handing the reins over to co-founder Liang Rubo.



In 2016, ByteDance launched the video-sharing service TikTok in China and India. The next year, the company acquired the service, which it then merged into TikTok in 2018. TikTok was subsequently released worldwide to enormous popularity, particularly among young people. In 2020, the app surpassed two billion mobile downloads, and in 2021 was ranked by Cloudflare as the year’s most popular website.


As it became increasingly popular, TikTok began attracting major controversy in relation to concerns over national security, surveillance, censorship, and children’s safety. Worries have been raised in several countries over the kinds of content that can or cannot be seen on TikTok, as well as how the app collects and utilizes the data of its users. Moreover, many countries have been skeptical about the service’s links to the Chinese government, and have proposed or created legislation to regulate or outright ban TikTok. In 2020, the United States Department of Justice called Zhang a “mouthpiece” of the Chinese Communist Party. Later, in 2023, the Department of Justice and the FBI opened an investigation into ByteDance and TikTok relating to the alleged surveillance of journalists. Also in 2023, the New York Times reported that Zhang was accused by a former employee of facilitating bribes to Chinese politician Lu Wei.

Honors and Recognition

Among his honors and recognition, Zhang was named to Forbes magazine’s China 30 Under 30 list in 2013. In 2018, he was included on Fortune magazine’s 40 Under 40 list, and in 2019 was named on Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list.

Personal Life

Despite his extraordinary wealth, Zhang lives an exceedingly private life away from the media spotlight, and little is known about his personal affairs. However, it is known that he lives in Beijing with his wife, whom he met while studying at Nankai University.

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