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


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. Reddit is ranked among the most visited United States websites and has more than 138,000 "communities" for discussions on various topics.

Reddit has been on a roll lately, growing its audience to 330 million monthly active users generating 14 billion page views in 2018. More popular content is surfaced to the top.

China-based messaging services -including Tencent-owned WeChat - and social media are restricted, with key words and expressions blocked if they express dissent or ridicule senior political leaders.

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. was among the investors in the round, which values the link-sharing website at $3 billion. 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.

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According to Steve Huffman, the CEO of Reddit, Tencent's advantages in video games are part of the reason the two companies work together.

"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. A report last week by technology website TechCrunch signaled Tencent's interest.

Winnie the Pooh has also been blocked at times on Chinese social media sites as bloggers compare the cartoon character to the country's President Xi Jinping.

Tencent's leading role in the round led to some backlash among Reddit's audience in recent days, with some users concerned that the influx of Chinese money was incompatible with Reddit's commitment to free speech.