Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Tencent invests $150m in Reddit sparking free speech protests across the site

Tencent invests $150m in Reddit sparking free speech protests across the site

Chinese tech giant Tencent has invested 150 million US dollars in American online forum site Reddit, with the social news aggregator confirming Monday that it attracted 300 million USA dollars in a fundraising round that values the company at more than three billion US dollars.

Founded in 2005 by two University of Virginia students, Reddit has continued to attract a loyal user base despite its relatively simple format, where users are invited to discuss just about any topic on more than 150,000 "sub-Reddit" forums.

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

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Over the years it has become the fifth largest social website, ranking after Google, YouTube, Facebook and Amazon, with monthly active users of 330 million.

Tencent invested $150 million, joining past Reddit investors like Sequoia, Fidelity, Tacit and Snoop Dogg, which were part of this funding round as well. Last week reports said that Tencent would be investing $150m (£115m) into the platform.

Tencent owns the all-in-one messaging app WeChat and is considered as one of the biggest gaming company in the world thanks to the ownership of the popular "League of Legends".

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"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 Winnie-The-Pooh before our new glorious overlords decide we can not post it anymore", says the post - which was voted up over 37,000 times. The push appears to be achieving results, with the company's ad revenue reportedly exceeding $100 million for the first time past year.

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.

For example, Reddit user ChristopherVDV posted an image of Winnie the Pooh criticizing the investment.

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