Economy

Reddit raises $300 million in finance round led by China's Tencent

Reddit raises $300 million in finance round led by China's Tencent

Tencent Holdings Ltd. has led a $300 million funding round in the USA forum site Reddit Inc., following its 2017 investment in another rival Snap Inc.

A Pooh picture, voted to near the top of the Reddit homepage, had the caption: "Since Reddit took a US$150 million investment from Chinese censorship company Tencent, please welcome our leader President Xi".

In the following days, users posted links to Reddit depicting imagery banned by Chinese censors.

It is ranked among the most visited US Web sites, and has more than 138,000 "communities" for discussions on various topics.

Reddit is now hitting 330 million users per month across a wide range of content including politics, entertainment, technology, sports and controversial posts involving conspiracy theories and adult content. Users can vote for content using the thumbs up or thumbs down buttons.

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Tencent - which owns one of the biggest chat apps, WeChat, as well as popular games like League of Legends - values Reddit at $3 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The series D funding round saw a $150 million investment from Tencent and the company's former investors, including Sequoia, Fidelity, Tacit and Snoop Dogg. Huffman said that Reddit was also trying to become "a friendly home for users and brands alike", which involved stepping up its fight against abuse on its platform.

"Given that reddit just took a $150 million investment from a Chinese censorship powerhouse, I thought it would be nice to post this picture of "Tank Man" at Tienanmen [sic] Square before our new glorious overlords decide we can not post it anymore", wrote user FreeSpeechWarrior. The push appears to be achieving results, with the company's ad revenue reportedly exceeding $100 million for the first time a year ago.

Winnie the Pooh's image is banned in China because users have mocked the character's resemblance to China's President Xi Jinping.

Ever since it was founded in 2005 in Silicon Valley, Reddit is known for its online atmosphere of free speech, with user comments as its main product.