Chinese Media giant acquires social video app Musical.ly
Chinese Media giant acquires social video app Musical.ly
Chinese media giant to buy karaoke app Musical.ly for US$800 million
12 November, 2017, 02:25
The deal was announced yesterday by Bytedance without disclosing the price tag. The company's flagship product, Toutiao, is the largest AI-powered content platform in China, with over 120 million daily active users each spending an average of 74 minutes on the platform.
Musical.ly, founded in Shanghai by Louis Yang (楊陸育) and Alex Zhu (朱駿) in 2014, exploded in popularity among USA teens past year and has since expanded beyond its flagship app for creating and sharing personal music videos.
In 2016, Musical.ly rolled out a live-streaming app called Live.ly, and it has struck content deals with Viacom, NBCUniversal and Hearst, among others. Bytedance beat out viral video streaming service Kuaishou to get Musical.ly, the sources added.
"(By) 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", Bytedance chief executive Zhang Yiming said in a statement.
Musical.ly lets users lip-sync along to short music clips or sing and dance a capella and upload it to the site. In February it bought United States video creation app Flipagram. "Bytedance's leading AI technologies and top-notch AI developers can empower us to innovate faster and roll out new user offerings unlike anything users have experienced before".
Bytedance, which was recently valued at $20 billion, says that Musical.ly will remain a separate, independent business. It's also worth noting is that Cheetah Mobile was an early investor in Musical.ly, in which Cheetah held a 17.4% stake of the end of 2016.
Jinri Toutiao - or "Today's Headlines" - is one of the few Chinese internet operations to have found success without the backing of one of the country's three biggest industry players: Tencent Holdings Ltd, Baidu Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
According to news reports, the deal's value has been estimated between $800 million and $1 billion.
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