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China’s King of Internet Fluff Wants to Conquer the World

BEIJING — A Chinese internet company that serves up homemade break-dancing videos, dishy news bites and goofy hashtag challenges has become one of the planet’s most richly valued start-ups, with a roughly $75 billion price tag. And it has big plans for storming phone screens across the rest of the globe, too.You may not have heard of the company, Bytedance. You may never have used any of its breezy, colorful apps. But your nearest teenager is probably already obsessed with Musical.ly, the video-sharing platform that Bytedance bought for around $1 billion last year and folded into its own video service, TikTok.“Frankly, it’s meaningless stuff,” said Dong Yaxin,…

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Bytedance of China Eyes $75 Billion Valuation, Joining Start-Up Giants

HONG KONG — In the United States, the fortunes of giant social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter have wobbled as they have been blamed for abetting abusive discourse and hosting malicious political influence campaigns.But in China, the titans of social media are still getting bigger and richer.Bytedance, the creator of the news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, the video-sharing service Tik Tok and a fleet of other entertainment apps, is in discussions to raise new funding that would value the business at $75 billion, according to people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss confidential talks.The Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is among the investors involved in…

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Horns Honk, and Censors in China Get a Headache

No ideology appears to link the apps’ fans, although their online videos suggest that sports cars and community service are common enthusiasms.In one clip, a column of cars parades down an empty highway, headlights flashing.In another, a bronze sports car drifts and does doughnuts at an abandoned intersection.One popular Chinese variety show this year also chronicled some of the good acts done by the fans. In China’s sparsely populated west, one group pitched in to help the elderly and entertain children. On Chinese social media, enthusiasts from other parts of the country posted photos after donating blood and sending secondhand goods to remote schools.China has undergone dizzying…

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It Built an Empire of GIFs, Buzzy News and Jokes. China Isn’t Amused.

“Content had appeared that did not accord with core socialist values and was not a good guide for public opinion,” Mr. Zhang wrote. “Over the past few years, we put more effort and resources toward expanding the business, and did not take enough measures to supervise our platform.”He added that Bytedance would expand its team for monitoring content to 10,000 people from 6,000 presently.The company’s travails show how the government in Beijing has broadened its restrictions on what people see and say on the internet. Regulators are increasingly suppressing content that they deem pornographic or in poor taste, and not merely material that touches on politically sensitive…

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