Founder & Creator of TikTok’s Net Worth – Zhang Yiming – Former CEO

Zhang Yiming is a Chinese media magnate and internet entrepreneur. He is best known for his company ByteDance Ltd, which he founded in 2012. ByteDance Ltd. is known for creating apps such as Toutiao and the video-focused social networking service, TikTok, formerly known as

Zhang Yiming's Net Worth

In 2022, Zhang Yiming’s net worth is estimated to be a whopping $49.5 Billion (1). His main source of income is his company. Zhang Yiming is the founder of ByteDance, which is one of China’s biggest media content platforms. 

In 2020, the privately-owned business raised new investment money with a $180 billion valuation and Mr. Zhang owns a 25% share in ByteDance. In 2018, during the peak of the TikTok app Zhang Yiming was declared a Billionaire with over $4 Billion in net worth. 

Due to the soaring popularity of the TikTok app, it is predicted that Zhang Yiming’s net worth will continue to spike. It might even double in the next year.  

Zhang Yiming’s career as an app developer and software engineer has earned him a huge sum of money. In 2013, Zhang Yiming was named on one of the Forbes China 30 Under 30 List. Just this year, he also became a part of the Forbes 30 Under 30 – Hall of Fame. In 2021, he gained the Top 25 spot as one of Forbes  Richest Persons in the world. 

Zhang Yiming's Early Life

Zhang Yiming is currently 39 years old. He was born in China’s Fujian Province in the city of Longyang or Longyan, one of its southeastern cities. He is a very private person and because of this, there is no exact birthdate found online. However, Zhang Yiming was born in 1983 (2).  Some site claims that he was born on April 1, 1983 while some says that he was born January 1, 1983. 

Zhang Yiming’s parents were said to be civil servants. He comes from an already affluent upbringing but despite that, he has worked hard and now has got more money. There is no information online about his siblings. 

Zhang Yiming's Education

Zhang Yiming attended the Nankai University in Tianjin where he majored in Microelectronics. However, he later changed his major to Software Engineering (3).

Zhang Yiming Wife and Family Life

Zhang Yiming is currently married to his College Sweetheart. The couple met while they both studying at Nankai University, a public university in Tianjin. The couple is very private and because of that their pictures together are not found on the internet. The identity of his wife is also not found on the internet (3). 

The couple does not have any children together. 

Zhang Yiming's Career

After finishing his degree, Zhang Yiming got his first was at a digital travel booking company called Kuxun. The company was a startup and he was one of its first employees. Zhang Yiming was the fifth software engineer at the said travel website startup. 

A year later, he was promoted to technical director.  Not long after, he left the company in order to pursue a job at Microsoft. However, he left the company soon after. After he left, he decided to join a start-up company called Fanfou. However, the company turned out to be a failure. 

In 2009, the company where he first worked, Kuxun, was acquired by Expedia, and because of this, he decided to takeover Kuxun’s real estate search business. From there he started his own company, 


Zhang Yiming started his company ByteDance when he saw that Chinese smartphone users were struggling to find relevant information using mobile apps such as Baidu, because of this he created his company ByteDance. Baidu, the Chinese search powerhouse, was combining search results with secret advertising. 

His aim was to employ artificial intelligence to push relevant content to users. However, most venture investors did not share his vision, and he was unable to acquire money until Susquehanna International Group agreed to invest in the firm. ByteDance created the Toutiao news app in August 2012, and it quickly grew to over 13 million daily users in just two years. Sequoia Capital, which had previously rejected Zhang, changed its mind and led a $100 million investment in the company in 2014.

 Zhang’s management style with ByteDance was modeled after that of US tech companies such as Google and included bi-monthly town hall meetings and discos. This style was very much different from other Chinese CEOs and because of this, Zhang was greatly loved by his employees. 

ByteDance released TikTok (known as Douyin in China) as a video-sharing app in September 2015 with minimal fanfare. The product eventuallybecame a huge hit with millennials and quickly spread over the world. was purchased for $800 million by ByteDance a year later, and it was folded into TikTok.

The National Radio and Television Administration ordered ByteDance’s initial app, Neihan Duanzi, to be shut down in 2018. In response, Zhang apologized, saying the app was “incompatible with socialist basic values,” that its application of Xi Jinping Thought was “poor,” and that ByteDance will “further strengthen the cooperation” with the ruling Chinese Communist Party to better promote its goals.

Ever since its founding, ByteDance has evolved into a mega-company that is able to compete with other companies abroad. It is now being branded as one of the world’s most successful start-ups (4) valued at $187.5 Billion as of 2021 as predicted by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 


In 2015, ByteDance launched its video-sharing app Tik Tok. The app was an instant favorite among the younger generation and has become a hit worldwide. In fact, the app’s numbers are continually rising. 

Slowly TikTok has become the No. 1 non-gaming iOS app in the U.S. It is said that Tik Tok is one of the most popular social networks among American teens and has been downloaded a billion times. A year later after its initial inception, ByteDance bought its competitor for US$800 Million and combined it with TikTok. 

Currently, Tik Tok is one of the biggest video-sharing social media platforms. Its monthly users are even higher than the average number of users of Snapchat and Twitter (5). The US is one of the countries with the highest Tik Tok users since it is the home of social media stars such as Charli D’Amelio, Dixie DAmelio, Addison Rae,  Chase Hudson, etc. 

Because of Tik Tok’s popularity among American Teens, former American President Donald Trump tried to ban the app in the United States because of alleged security reasons. However, it didn’t pull through. 

In April 2021, Tik Tok has undergone a change in leadership. ByteDance Founder, Zhang Yiming stepped down from his position and gave the spot to Shouzi Chew, ByteDance’s CFO (6)

Career Milestones

2001 – Enrolled at Nankai University in Tianjin

2005 – Graduated from Nankai University

2006 – Started a job at a startup company called Kuxun, his first-ever job.

2007 – Got promoted as technical director at Kuxun.

2008 – Zhang Yiming left Kuxun to pursue a job at Microsoft

2009 – He joined a start-up called Fanfou

2009 – Zhang Yiming took over Kuxun’s real estate business and started, which becomes his first-ever company.

2012 – He founded Tiktok’s parent company, ByteDance. 

– In August of the same year, ByteDance launched the TouTiao news app.

2014 – Sequoia Capital gave Zhang Yiming a $100 Million investment in the company. 

2015 – ByteDance released Tik Tok

2016 – ByteDance purchases for$800 Million. 

2021 – Zhang Yiming steps down as ByteDance CEO and gives the spot to Shouzi Chew. 

Awards and Recognition

  • 30 Under 30 List By Forbes
  • Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 List
  • Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People 2019
  • Top 25 Richest Person of 2021 
  • Top 9 China’s Richest Person

Zhang Yiming's Appearance (Height, Hair, Eyes & More)

Hair ColorBlack
Eye ColorDark  Brown
Body TypeSkinny
Sexual OrientationStraight

Facts About Zhang Yiming

Estimate Net Worth$49.5 million
Zodiac SignN/A
BirthplaceLongyang, Fujian Province, China


  1. Zhang Yiming Founder, ByteDance Net Worth, retrieved from
  2. Taylor Nicole Roger & Tyler Sonnemaker, Meet Zhang Yiming, the secretive Chinese billionaire behind TikTok worth $44 billion who just stepped down as ByteDance CEO, Retrieved from
  3. Zhang Yiming, retrieved from
  4. Feng, Venus.  “World’s Most Valuable Startup Is Home to a Complex Fortune”. Retrieved from
  5. Stefan Campbell,TikTok Net Worth In 2022 – The Real Facts, retrieved from

  6. ByteDance: TikTok’s co-founder to step down as chief executive, Retrieved From