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20 Things You Didn't Know About Zhang Yiming

Zhang Yiming

Zhang Yiming is best known as an internet entrepreneur. He is one of the most distinguished businessmen in China, as well as the current CEO of the company ByteDance. He is a dynamic leader who has an interesting story and serves as a brilliant example of how drive and initiative along with some hard work can lead to the ultimate in business success. To help you become better acquainted with him and how he came to become so very rich and successful, here are 20 things that you probably didn't know about Zhang Yiming

1. He is the founder of ByteDance

ByteDance is a Chinese company that has been in operation since 2012. It was founded by Zhang Yiming and the company has quickly grown in the 7 years that it has been in operation to a valuation of $75 billion in US dollars. This gives the company the distinction of being the world's most valuable startup.

2. Zhang is one of the richest men in China

China is the largest country in the world in terms of its population. There are many millionaires and billionaires who live and work there. Of all of these millions of people, Zhang Yiming is the ninth richest person in the entire country of China. His estimated personal net wealth is placed at $13 billion.

3. Zhang is 36 years old

Zhang Yiming was born in April of 1983. This makes him 36 years old as of April of 2019. He is one of the youngest billionaires in the world today. He is a remarkable leader who has made his mark early in life. He is an outstanding example of what it takes to become successful in business in the modern world.

4. He was educated in China

Zhang completed his education at the high school level and enrolled in college. He was accepted at the Nankai University in Tianjin, majoring in the study of microelectronics, but during the course of his program, he switched his major to software engineering. He successfully completed his program of study and received his degree from the institution in 2005 at the age of 22.

5. He secured a job after college

Zhang's first job out of college was at the Kuxun travel website. He joined the company in February of 2006. The company was still very small when he became a member of the staff and he was only the fifth person to be hired at the business. This is what you call getting in on the ground floor. He worked as the first engineer for the company and within just one year, he received a promotion and was made the technical director. He was moving up fast in a small company, but he only stayed there for one more year as a technical director.

6. He left Kuxan in 2008

Just two years after being hired at Kuxan and making rapid progress in moving up, Zhan left the company for what he believed to be a better career opportunity. He went to work for Microsoft in 2008. Although this was a good opportunity, it wasn't a good fit for him. While there are some young business hopefuls who would stick it out to get the experience, the rules of the company made Zhang feel as though his creativity was being stifled, so he left the company soon after starting.

7. Zhang didn't take a break in between jobs

Zhang Yiming founded his own business startup when he left the employ of Microsoft. He is not the kind of person that lets the grass grow under his feet, or takes a break when he's pursuing personal or professional goals. The business that he established was called Fanfou, and after trying to make it a success for about a year, the business failed, as many new startups do within their first year of operation. he was establishing himself as an entrepreneur.

8. He founded his first successful company in 2009

Even after the failure of Fanfou, Zhang was not discouraged and he kept pushing forward. He discovered the Kuxun was to be acquired by Expedia and this presented him with yet another opportunity. He took over the real estate search division of Kuxun's operation and he established his own company, which was his first success that he named He initially served as the CEO until the company was firmly established, then 2 years later, he turned over the reigns to a professional manager and he quit working for the company to pursue a yet larger endeavor.

9. Zhang developed a news aggregator

After establishing the ByteDance company in 2012, Zhang developed Toutiao, which is a news aggregator. He also developed the video-sharing platform Tik Tok. These are both important programs that fuel the industry of the ByteDance company which offers a subscription service for using the programs. ByteDance soared in popularity and within just 7 years from starting there are approximately one billion monthly users who pay for the service.

10. Zhang was initially turned down by some major investors

Investors who turned him down came back to get in on the action. One of them was Sequoia Capital. The firm refused to back his ByteDance venture initially, but when it came time for the second round of funding, the business had already secured an average of 13 million users daily, which gave it predictable cash flow and showed how promising the business really was. In light of the amazing success that ByeDance was experiencing, Sequoia Capital changed their minds and actually led the round for a $100 million investment in US dollars into the company in 2014.

11. Zhang Yiming has remained at the helm

Unlike his first successful business, Zhang Yiming has maintained a firm place in the executive leadership of the ByteDance company. He previously turned over the reigns of to a pro manager to start ByteDance. Zhang has been the CEO of DyteDance for the entire seven years that it has been in operation. He also serves as the chair of the Beijing ByteDance company's board of directors.

12. Zhang has earned recognition from Forbes

Making any of the Forbes lists is a significant accomplishment for business people and entrepreneurs. Zhang is on two of them. He is listed as number ten on the Forbes' Richest people in China for 2019, as well as number 70 on the Billionaires of 2019 list. He accomplished this feat when he was just 35 years old. According to Forbes, he is a self-made billionaire and his primary source of wealth is designated as in the software business, because of the two programs that rocketed ByteDance to dizzying heights of success and wealth. He doesn't have a fancy education but he did make advance preparation by achieving his bachelor's degree prior to striking out in the business world. This opened enough doors for him to get a start and show the world how talented and savvy he is in the business world.

13. Zhang Yiming works best on his own

Although Zhang Yiming has the skills to work as a team player, he knows how to run a business and to make it successful, but it's been difficult for him to work for others. Because of his interpretation of best practices, his vision has not always aligned with that of others such as in the case with Microsoft. While some might think this to be arrogant, Zhang Yiming has proven that it is not arrogance, but rather his strong business acumen and intuition. The evidence that supports this assertion lies in the fact that he went out and started his own business and turned it into the largest of its kind in the world with a valuation of $75 billion.

14. His name has a very special meaning

In the Chinese language, Zhang Yiming's name has a unique meaning. In English, it is translated into a phrase meaning "Surprising everyone with a first attempt." This comes from an old proverb. Although he is a very successful entrepreneur, Zhang didn't achieve success at is first attempt. He worked hard to get where he is today and he's had his ups and downs. Having said this, he's had some serious successes.

15. He has a global outlook on life

One of the things about Zhang Yiming that makes him both interesting and adaptable is that he has a global outlook. He gained this through his life experiences and it is leading him to diversify the ByteDance portfolio to include hardware with the software. It has also been insinuated that the company is going to release its own branded smartphone in the near future.

16. Zhang had to learn how to lead quickly

Zhang Yiming learned how to adapt to big changes early in his career. When he started his first job he was just a regular engineer. Within one year's time, he was put in charge of between 40 to 50 employees and he had a heavy workload laden with responsibilities on top of that. He had to be a quick learner as this was not something that he had ever had to do before. This was an extreme situation but he managed to navigate his way through it.

17. He uses his experiences at Kuxan to train his current staff

Zhang gives speeches to the employees at ByteDance occasionally and he tells them about his experiences in his first job. This encourages them to do their best. He has a strong work ethic and he attributes his rapid success to that. He went over and above his responsibilities and it paid off with a quick advancement in his career. He applies this same philosophy to the companies that he owns.

18. He enjoys meeting new people and experiencing new things

Part of Zhang's success is tied up in the fact that he is open-minded and he has been exposed to a lot of different people and experiences. these are all things that help him to learn and expand his thought patterns. He admitted that during the years that he was an engineer, they were fairly limited, but they have expanded and when it comes time for him to create a product that will be marketed to the public, he has a much better idea of what consumers want because of his experience with a broader cross-section of people.

19. Zhang insists that everyone in his employ use the software

Zhang is taking a realistic and practical approach to his business. there was a period of time when he didn't use the software that he had created. he was just watching Tik Tok videos. Then it occurred to him that this was something that he should be participating in himself, so he would have a better understanding of the experiences of his customers. Zhang also made it mandatory for all members of his staff to make Tik Tok videos of their own and they were also required to win a quota of likes from the community. He made it compulsory for all of his employees and if they failed to get the minimum number of likes that he required, they had to do push-ups. This is a novel way of inspiring them to do their very best.

20. Zhang Yiming is an inspiration

At the age of 36, Zhang Yiming is a multi-billionaire and he's an effective leader. He definitely has his own way of doing things, but one thing that you can say about him is that he follows his instincts and in most cases, they have been right. He seems to know when to walk away and when to stay. He is an inspiration to young entrepreneurs all over the world and he has shown the world that it is possible with hard work and a strong work ethic to achieve a major success when you're pursuing your passion.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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