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SoftBank's Vision Fund buys into operator of Chinese video app TikTok

Japanese group declines to comment on amount and timing of investment

SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son (Photo by Shinya Sawai) 

TOKYO -- The $100 billion fund managed by SoftBank Group has invested in the operator of China's video sharing app TikTok, Nikkei learned on Tuesday.

The Chinese operator Bytedance drew investment from the group's Vision Fund at an unspecified date.

TikTok entered Japan in 2017 and has become popular with young people. The platform lets users post short videos such as people doing comical dances. It is believed to have 500 million users around the world.

SoftBank Group has confirmed the Vision Fund's investment in the Chinese startup, but declined to comment on the amount and timing of the investment.

According to Bloomberg, Bytedance has raised $3 billion in total from SoftBank and other investors, and its company value is estimated at $75 billion -- an outstanding presence even among so-called "unicorns," or unlisted startups with estimated value of $1 billion or higher. That is comparable to U.S. ride-hailing startup Uber Technologies.

According to one U.S. research company, TikTok hit the largest number of downloads for the first half of this year among all apps for Apple devices. Facebook came in seventh.

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