Meet Zhang Yiming, the secretive, 35-year-old Chinese billionaire behind TikTok who made over $12 billion in 2018
Visual China Group via Getty Images; Ruobing Su/Business Insider
- Zhang Yiming built a $16.2 billion fortune after founding ByteDance, the Chinese software developer behind TikTok.
- Despite being the 13th-wealthiest person in China, Zhang is extremely private and little is known about his personal life.
- TikTok's growing influence in the US has raised questions from US regulators.
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The widespread popularity of TikTok has not just created a new generation of social media stars, it's also created a social media billionaire.
Zhang Yiming, the 35-year-old software engineer who founded the app's parent company, now has a net worth of $16.2 billion, Forbes estimates. Despite being the 13th-wealthiest person in China as ranked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zhang is extremely private and little is known about his personal life.
Keep reading to learn everything we know about Zhang Yiming.
Zhang, 35, lives in Beijing, China.
He married his college sweetheart.
Zhang's first job out of college was at a digital travel booking startup called Kuxun.
Zhang founded TikTok's parent company in 2012.
Zhang and ByteDance's first product was a news aggregator app called Toutiao.
Zhang launched ByteDance's most successful app — TikTok — under the name 'Douyin' in September 2016.
Zhang makes his own TikToks — and requires his senior employees to as well.
TikTok's global reach makes Zhang's life "much more interesting."
However, TikTok's growing influence in the US has raised questions from US regulators.
The billionaire attributes his success to his work ethic.
Zhang's fortune is growing rapidly: He made over $12 billion in 2018 alone.
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