China's ByteDance to raise about $1.45 billion for its venture fund: the Information

FILE PHOTO - Visitors are seen at the booth of Bytedance Technology at the China International Software Expo in Beijing, China June 29, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

(Reuters) - Beijing ByteDance Technology Co, one of the world’s most valuable startups, is in talks to raise about $1.45 billion (9.97 billion yuan) to invest in artificial intelligence and media content, The Information website reported on Friday.

ByteDance, owner of news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, is in talks with investors including major Chinese government-led funds and state-owned investment banks, the website reported.

This comes after ByteDance faced mounting scrutiny from China’s internet censors earlier in the year, with Toutiao temporarily taken off app stores for a cleanup in April while a separate app for jokes was permanently shut.

Building closer relationships with state-backed investors could be beneficial for ByteDance, whose apps in China have run afoul of the country’s regulators, the Information said.

Reuters reported in August ByteDance aimed to raise about $3 billion in a funding round, valuing the company as high as $75 billion.

ByteDance said it had no comment to offer on the matter.

(1 Chinese yuan = $0.1454)

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier