Liu Zhen on Bytedance’s Global Vision and Why Toutiao Is Unique


GGV Capital’s Hans Tung and Zara Zhang interview Liu Zhen, the senior vice president of Bytedance (Toutiao), one of the fastest-growing Chinese tech startups that has made a lot of headlines. You may know Bytedance through its flagship product, Jinri Toutiao (今日头条), a content discovery and recommendation mobile app platform that uses artificial intelligence to recommend content to its users. What you may be less familiar with is that Bytedance also owns some of the most popular short video apps in China, and has demonstrated its global vision with its recent merger with, a top-ranking short video app in many countries with hundreds of millions of users, and a GGV portfolio company. Prior to Bytedance, Liu Zhen led Uber’s China team before it was acquired by Didi Chuxing (a GGV portfolio company) in 2016.  

With a background that includes being a lawyer in Silicon Valley, helping Uber scale in China, and spearheading Bytedance’s global expansion, Zhen has had unique experiences that inform her views on the tech ecosystem in China and the U.S.

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The 996 podcast is brought to you by GGV Capital and co-produced by the Sinica Podcast. On this show, we interview movers and shakers of China’s tech industry, as well as tech leaders who have a U.S.-China cross-border perspective.

GGV Capital is a multi-stage venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, Shanghai, and Beijing. It has been partnering with leading technology entrepreneurs since 2000 from seed to pre-IPO. With $3.8 billion in capital under management across eight funds, GGV invests in globally minded entrepreneurs in consumer internet, ecommerce, frontier tech, and enterprise. GGV has invested in over 200 companies, including Airbnb, Alibaba, Ctrip, Didi, Domo, HashiCorp, Hellobike, Houzz, Keep, Slack, Square, Toutiao, Wish, Xiaohongshu, YY, and others, with 29 IPOs and 22 unicorns to date. Find out more at