China company's investment in Reddit sparks censorship worry

Andrew Cummings
February 14, 2019

US social media site Reddit Inc. said Monday it has raised 300 million USA dollars in Series D round led by China's internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., which pushed the company's market valuation to 3 billion dollars.

Tencent usually targets overseas gaming companies for its investments, but recently it has started to bet on other social media platforms.

The investment from Tencent comes with some controversy because Reddit is blocked in China as part of the Great Firewall censorship initiative.

Much of that criticism has come from Reddit users.

The site boasts that, on average, more than 330 million people use it each month, contending that half of those users range in age from 18 to 24 years. More popular content is surfaced to the top.

Tencent and other investors are looking to help Reddit better monetize its already large user-base, but many people have claimed that this is a massive conflict of interest for the Chinese conglomerate.

The funding comes from what is called a "series D funding round" and sees China's Tencent adding a considerable amount of fortune to the $300 million, infact the Chinese conglomerate threw in $150 million.

Tencent operates online games and popular WeChat social media service.

Reddit has also actively worked to clean up the platform, once flooded with trolls and inappropriate content. Ever since it was rumored that Tencent was going to invest in Reddit, a number of Reddit users posted images of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

That's up from a $1.8 billion valuation from the company's last funding round, which brought in a $200 million investment in 2017.

Images of the storybook bear were reportedly banned online in China after bloggers used them to represent Xi in posts.

It was later reported that Reddit users were unhappy with the news and flooded the site with protest messages following the reported investment.

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