Musical.ly app reportedly acquired by ByteDance

10 November, 2017, 18:23 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • China's Toutiao buys teens social video app Musical.ly in latest expansion

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 (騰訊), Baidu Inc (百度) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴). Although financial details were not disclosed, multiple outlets are reporting that Bytedance is paying around $800 million for the buzzy video service. It said the transaction will give it an important United States presence, adding Musical.ly's 100 million lip-synching users to Toutiao's own 120 million readers and viewers, while potentially adding a social media component.

Since founded by Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang in 2014, Musical.ly has hit the top spot in the iOS and Android app stores and remains a top 10 video and social app, according to App Annie.

A karaoke-style smartphone app that lets you create your own short music videos, Musical.ly boasts an audience of 200 million users globally.

The app has grown to more than 100 million users - known as "musers" - and maintains partnerships with media giants Viacom Inc. and NBCUniversal for original content. The company was valued at $11 billion in June, according to CB Insights, and is now reportedly worth $20 billion.

Started by Zhang Yiming (張一鳴), it is on track to pull in about US$2.5 billion in revenue this year, largely from advertising. The Musical.ly founders and team will join Bytedance and continue to run the platform.

The Beijing-based firm, which recently bought video platform Flipagram and also owns English news app TopBuzz, declined to comment on its current valuation.

This is just the latest USA acquisition for Beijing-based Bytedance, which acquired Flipagram, which has its own audience of about 200 million.

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