TikTok-owner ByteDance sets up FOF team as it steps up efforts in dealmaking

Source: ByteDance

ByteDance, the Chinese owner of short-video platform TikTok, has set up a fund of funds (FOF) team as it gears up to invest in new profit generators to strengthen its own operation in the market.

The Chinese firm was earlier in the market to recruit a director-level fund manager with expertise in US dollar fund management and FOF management for its offices in the US or Singapore, according to a month-long old LinkedIn job post from ByteDance.

The LinkedIn page shows that the application for the position is now closed.

ByteDance’s FOF team is a newly established unit “interfacing with top-tier fund managers across the world.” It is focused on “investing in long-term value” and “building close connections” with fund management firms, said the firm in the job description.

In the newly created role, the FOF manager is expected to work with ByteDance’s Asia-Pacific team, wherein the person will be responsible for “strategies, investment, management of US portfolio funds.”

It is unclear whether ByteDance’s FOF team will manage third-party capital or invest money out of the firm’s own pocket. It did not immediately respond to DealStreetAsia’s requests for comments outside of business hours.

ByteDance’s efforts in building a FOF team could help it diversify sources of profits and cement its market position.

However, it’s not the only technology company looking to start a fund. Its bigger social media rival Tencent, the operator of China’s ubiquitous instant messaging app WeChat, set up a corporate investment team in 2009 to make direct investments in companies as well as commitments to fund managers.

Data from Chinese business information platform IT Juzi shows that Tencent invested in a total of 168 companies worldwide in 2020, with an increase of 37% from 2019.

As China’s most active tech giant in dealmaking, Tencent was followed by e-commerce giant Alibaba, which backed 44 companies in 2020. In the same year, ByteDance invested in 34 companies, while smartphone maker Xiaomi purchased shares in 70 companies.

Chinese tech companies have all jumped on the bandwagon of picking up stakes in smaller industry players amid rising regulation uncertainties in the home market. Such a move has come alongside Beijing’s tightening scrutiny over the tech sector, with the introduction of a series of regulations that have weighed heavy on industries from online education to gaming and data security.

ByteDance’s gross revenue in 2021 is on track to reach 400 billion yuan ($62.6 billion), with an estimated increase of 60%, tech publication The Information reported earlier this week, citing two people with knowledge of internal projection. Its growth pace is slower this year compared to that of 2020, when gross revenue – total sales before payouts to ad agencies are deducted – more than doubled to about 250 billion yuan ($39.1 billion).

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.