Tencent invests in Reddit as global battle with Bytedance escalates

Galtero Lara
Febrero 12, 2019

Chinese tech giant Tencent is rumored to have contributed $150 million to U.S. social news and discussion platform Reddit's $300 million Series D, leading to heated discussions over the possibility of future censorship on the platform.

San Francisco-based Reddit raised a total of $300 million at a $3 billion valuation, with investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity, Sequoia and Tencent, the company's CEO told CNBC.

Since TechCrunch reported about the deal on Tuesday, many Redditors have expressed fears about censorship.

Reddit said it planned to use the money for worldwide expansion and to enhance its digital ad platform to better compete in a market where Facebook and Google now take in most of the revenue.

Reddit, known as the "Front Page of the Internet", has 330 million active users but still cannot be accessed in China.

"We are the only company at our scale that is still a private company, so we have had a lot of investor attention in the past year", Reddit chief executive Steve Huffman told CNBC.

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"Given that reddit just took a $150 million investment from a Chinese censorship powerhouse, I thought it would be nice to post this picture of "Tank Man" at Tienanmen [sic] Square before our new glorious overlords decide we can not post it anymore", wrote the user "FreeSpeechWarrior".

"Reddit is now funded by Chinese investors, so let's remember that President Xi Jinping is so insecure in a meme that he banned Winnie the Pooh nationwide", Redditor kproxurworld wrote.

Reddit was co-founded by Alexis Ohanian, husband of tennis superstar Serena Williams. Reddit users swarmed several of the submissions, pushing them to the list of most popular posts.

Reddit is also known for ask-me-anything (AMA) sessions with well-known people such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former United States president Barack Obama.

Tencent has invested in a broad array of companies, including Tesla, Snapchat-parent Snap and Epic Games - the maker of popular video game "Fortnite".

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