TikTok's founder is China’s seventh richest man with a staggering £25 billion net worth following the huge success of his social media platform.
The incredibly popular app, along with the company that owns it, ByteDance, was founded by software engineering graduate Zhang Yiming back in 2012.
The Chinese company ByteDance, which promotes itself as a video-sharing platform, enables its users to create tutorials, dances and workshops online.
The social media platform has gone viral in the past year as the world was plunged into lockdowns and as a result the profits have skyrocketed for Yiming and his company.
The company’s earnings doubled to £24.5 billion in 2020 and saw its annual gross profit rise by 93% to $19billion.
Who is Zhang Yiming and how did he build his tech empire?
Yiming graduated from Nankai University with a BA in Software Engineering in 2015, and he then went on to work for other tech giants such as Microsoft.
Despite not graduating until 2015, Yiming set up his own tech firm in 2012.
He developed apps and news services, including the now immensely popular TikTok, under the umbrella name of ByteDance.
Yiming, now 37, is China’s seventh richest man and back in 2019 Time Magazine lauded him as “the top entrepreneur in the world”.
Though the app is immensely successful it has come under huge fire in the US regarding security concerns.
President Donald Trump accused TikTok of being a threat to US national security in a very public bust-up between the former president and the Chinese tech giant.
Trump claimed that ByteDance would allow the Chinese government to access American user data upon request, an accusation TikTok has vehemently denied.
In May, ByteDance announced Yiming would be stepping down from his position at the helm of the tech company and transitioning to another role by the end of the year.
In a letter to all employees, Yiming announced he would be succeeded by fellow co-founder Rubo Liang.
"The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager," he wrote in a message on the company's website.
"I'm more interested in analysing organisational and market principles, and leveraging these theories to further reduce management work, rather than actually managing people.
"Similarly, I'm not very social, preferring solitary activities like being online, reading, listening to music, and contemplating what may be possible," he added.
Those above Yiming in the ranking of China’s wealthiest men include Zhong Shanshan, founder of the Nongfu Spring beverage company who comes in at top spot with a net worth of $68.9 billion.
He Xiangjian, co-founder of Midea appliance company, is one spot above Yiming and worth $37.7 billion.
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