Home Tech Blazers Toutiao (Bytedance) - The Skinny

Toutiao (Bytedance) – The Skinny

Also known as Jinri Toutiao is a Beijing corporation who specialize in news and information. They provide an interactive site wherein algorithms are used to personalize a users experience – just like Google but on a smaller scale. With an estimated corporate value of $20 billion US and massive investments from China Digital Media; this is one corporation that shows no signs of slowing down.

Digital Media

Toutiao joined the ‘Unicorn’ companies list back in 2017 but have been in operation since 2012. Being one of 260 unicorn companies globally is impressive enough but to do it in five short years is fairly amazing. We wanted to know how they made their money, how they keep generating profit and what exactly they provide the work that makes them so successful.


In spite of its success, Toutiao is actually a subsidiary of Beijing Bytedance Technology Company LTD.  In fact, Toutiao started life as Bytedance’s main product, but has grown since its initial conception in 2012 to become a full subsidiary in its own right. In the early days the firm sourced most of its online news sharing articles from pre-existing web content. As you can imagine this was labor intensive and did not make for a sustainable business model. Arguably their success in more recent years has come from the invention of their core algorithm, which weighs users favored news content and tailors what news is available to them in order of their personal determination of what is important.

Generate Profit


With early investors of SIG Asia and Yuri Milner, later funds came from Sequoia Capital China and Sina Weibo, as well as contributions from China Digital Media, Toutiao now boasts over 120 million daily users of their services. Their business model now continues to generate profit as it encourages users to create interesting content which it then places advertisements on. Everyone earns with this model, which is probably the main reason for its success.

At the moment Toutiao is available in China and the surrounding regions. Soon they will expand into the US, Brazil and Japan. They also own controlling shares in Babe, bought Flipagram and are cousins to TopBuzz through their parent organisation.

List of Services

It isn’t just about providing tailored news for users, Toutiao actually does a few other things, too. Some of them are as follows:

  • The Development of AI and machine learning systems to better target users needs
  • They have their own video channel which users can upload to.
  • They run a discussion forum to encourage community interaction.
  • They have a fake news detection system that monitors their content.
  • They have a self-publishing platform for media corporations
  • They have a missing person alert system.

With a fluid service that adapts and changes as users drive what content is most valuable; it is fair to say that Toutiao is adapatable, flexible and likely to be around for a while. Their global expansion prospects are fantastic, so much so that we can expect to see a growth in net worth as they expand from one country to the next. With such a strong following and backed by some serious investors; for the moment at least, Toutiao can do no wrong.

Fluid Service


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