$1 Billion To Chinese Media Giant Bytedance

  • $1 Billion To Chinese Media Giant Bytedance

$1 Billion To Chinese Media Giant Bytedance

Toutiao's users are primarily based in China, so the move is seen as a way to tap into other markets.

Musical.ly, founded in China by Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang, is an app that lets users make 15-second to 1 minute videos and with sound tracks to accompany them.

It rolled out a live-streaming app called Live.ly in 2016 and signed deals with media firms including Viacom Inc and Comcast Corp's NBC Universal to make original shows. Bytedance beat out viral video streaming service Kuaishou to get Musical.ly, the sources added. Media execs will be keeping an eye on how those partnerships evolve under Bytedance's well-funded auspices.

"Integrating Musical.ly's global reach with Bytedance's massive user base in China and key Asian markets, we are creating a significant global platform for our content creators and brands to engage with new markets", said Zhang Yiming, Bytedance CEO.

"At the same time, our world-leading artificial intelligence technology will help Musical.ly to accelerate their incredible pace of innovation in mobile video creation".

The Musical.ly app allows users to share 15 second videos of lip syncing popular songs and making amusing faces. Bytedance past year formed an R&D division, called the Toutiao AI Lab, headed by Ma Wei-Ying, formerly Microsoft Research Asia's assistant managing director.

For now, users shouldn't expect any huge changes for Musical.ly. It'll continue to run as a separate platform, Bytedance said. The startup had raised $147 million to date from investors including GGV Capital, GX Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and Susquehanna International Group. As part of that agreement, Bytedance is to pay $87 million for Cheetah Mobile's news aggregation service, News Republic. Its parent company ByteDance is valued at over United States dollars 20 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. Those figures compare with a reported $20 billion valuation for Bytedance.

The music app became popular past year among American teens.

ByteDance announced the deal yesterday without citing a price tag.