Zhang Yiming—CEO of Bytedance an AI-powered content platform and parent to Toutiao—said that the company’s 2018 keyword is globalization at the sixth anniversary of Toutiao. In an interview with Tsinghua University professor and Dean, Zhang revealed their goal to achieve globalization and have more than half of its users from overseas in the next three years (in Chinese).

He believes that the most important thing for a company is to stay young, and this is more important than having a matured company. This is the reason why startups like Douyin (抖音), Wukong(悟空问答), Xigua Video (西瓜视频) started by post-80s can attract post-90s, post-00s or even post-10s, Zhang explains.

“We have to stay young and we should not be willing to take a negative and critical attitude toward new things. There must be some reasons behind bringing new things. We must experience, try, and observe its development,” Zhang Yiming said.

About internet giants BAT and rising giants TMD, Zhang said they have similarities and differences. Zhang said he learned a lot from BAT entrepreneurs. For example, he read a book about Tencent’s history and applied the lessons he learned from the book to Toutiao: Understanding the user experience, focusing on the user, creating value for the user and putting importance to talents. However, there are also unique things about TMD:

First, the entrepreneurial environment is better. Second, it is much easier to do investment, financing, and recruitment. Third, increasing talents are joining Toutiao. Fourth, expand to global earlier. Fifth, they dare to develop new business.

In January, Toutiao bought a 100% stake in Ulpay (合众支付), an online payment agency, and acquired its own online payment license, implying that the company might enter the mobile payment market.

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at evayoo@technode.com

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