Who is TMD: The founders behind China’s next BAT

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This is the second post in our series: Discover China’s Next BAT, where we will go over the potential tech giants that are leading China’s IT industry. Previously, we looked at what TMD is. This time, we take a closer look at the founders. 

Toutiao, Meituan-Dianping, and Didi Chuxing (TMD for short) are indeed the last winners who survived in their each sector of the market. As the leading platforms, their market value is notably high.

For Toutiao, a high-flying news-aggregation app that has quickly become one of the hottest start-ups in China, Investors are considering hanging a valuation of more than $US10 billion ($13bn)

The app’s parent company, Beijing Bytedance Technology, seeks to raise about $1 billion in its latest round. The fresh valuation marks rapid progress for the company, which was worth only $500 million in 2014.

Didi Chuxing, after a merger with Uber, is now worth around US$ 35 billion – combining Didi’s most recent US$ 28 billion valuation and Uber China’s estimated net worth.

In January, last year, Meituan-Dianping confirmed that it has closed a colossal $3.3 billion round at a valuation of $18 billion. In fact, this was the largest single funding round ever raised by a venture-backed Internet startup in China at the time.

Lanxi, the founder of Zhulu (逐鹿网) said in his blog post that he expects that among these three companies, at least two will complete its IPO this year.

Founders of TMD

TMD

Interestingly, these three companies all were established around a similar generation. Toutiao was founded by Zhang Yiming, a 33-year-old entrepreneur in 2012. Meituan was founded by Wang Xing, a 31-year-old entrepreneur in 2010. Didi Chuxing’s CEO, Cheng Wei was also 30 years old when he founded Didi in 2012.

BAT

As we often group together Robin Li, Jack Ma, and Ma Huateng, the founders of Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent respectively, Zhang Yiming, Wang Xing, and Cheng Wei are collectively seen as the next generation of leaders of China’s IT industry

It is true that at the time Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent were growing their business, BAT were often criticized for being the copycats of existing giants in the US; Baidu copying Google, Alibaba copying Amazon and Ebay. However, Toutiao, Meituan, and Didi are applauded to have captured a specific demand and needs of Chinese consumers and somewhat more original in terms of a business model with their own ways of innovation.