🔥🔥🔥BANGER EPISODE ALERT! 🔥🔥🔥
The story goes that Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming was super inspired by Steve Jobs. So much so that the name Bytedance was derived from Jobs’ philosophy for matching technology (byte) with art (dance).
Rui Ma, who is one of THE MOST RESPECTED voices on tech in China, and the host of the popular Techbuzz China podcast, doesn’t buy that fully. But then again, no one today claims to believe everything that is said by startup PR teams- except maybe the founders themselves.
So to find a balanced, extremely informative and nuanced perspective on what is obviously the most valuable startup in the world - is something I highly highly recommend. Trust me, this is a killer one! 🕵
Rui Ma has been an investor across Silicon Valley and China, advised multiple startups and is soon coming out with a book on Bytedance - using multiple sources that never make it to the English media. She presently lives in Redwood City working across the US and China and her dog makes a special appearance towards the end on the show (so, I guess we had 2 guests on the show this time?!)
Check out the timestamps from this episode and tell me you don’t want to listen to this! I’ve highlighted my favorite parts with 🔥
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00:00- Some Chinese rap songs, why are all Chinese Tech CEO’s “Ma”, Rui’s journey from investing to podcasting herself, why people either love or absolutely hate China
07:23- Why Bytedance capturing US-China is such a big deal, breaking down some misconceptions about Bytedance
14:00- The birth of Jinri Toutiao, Bytedance-Meituan connection, the early boom days of China tech, How is Bytedance different from Tencent- a cultural difference? Acquisitions vs internal innovation, internal product testing 🔥🔥🔥
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25:00- 996 of course, engineering culture in China and Silicon Valley
29:45- How much do Chinese tech firms imitate SV firms? Zhang Yiming’s inspirations from Amazon, Google, Facebook and even Nike!
37:00- Being in the media industry, how much does the Propaganda department in China care about major Chinese tech players, moderating content in China 🔥🔥🔥
41:52- Bytedance’s international expansions, a new approach to internationalization after Kevin Mayer as new Tiktok CEO, Beijing driving strategies for India
47:00- LIVESTREAMING, China’s rural-urban divide in tech adoption and market opportunities, saturation in new user growth after smartphone growth stopped in 2017-18, monetization strategies for Bytedance 🔥🔥🔥🔥
58:50- Advertising on Tiktok vs Facebook, different product purposes and goals
1:05:00- The poor quality of China-tech journalism, people don’t have sex with dogs in India and people don’t eat dogs in China
1:12:23- How do Chinese citizens look at privacy? The cultural concept of “Yinsi”🔥🔥🔥🔥
1:18:20- Parting thoughts, Rui promises a list of best resources on China-tech