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12 November 2017, 02:24 | Hattie Nash
Lip sync app Musical.ly sold to China's ByteDance for a reported $800 million
Bytedance is known for its flagship content-recommendation app "Toutiao"(which means "headline" in Chinese).
As one of the fastest growing tech startups in China, Bytedance has been given valuations up to as high as $20 billion. Bytedance beat out rival bidders including Kuaishou, the viral video streaming service, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter.
Financial terms of the deal weren't included in today's announcement, but news reports put the deal's value at between $800 million and $1 billion.
Musical.ly, founded in Shanghai by Louis Yang (楊陸育) and Alex Zhu (朱駿) in 2014, exploded in popularity among United States teens previous year and has since expanded beyond its flagship app for creating and sharing personal music videos.
Musical.ly, founded three years ago in Shanghai, is the first Chinese social media app to make it big in the USA, where it has about 20 million users. The startup also inked deals with media companies such as Viacom and Comcast's NBCUniversal to make original shows. Bloomberg has reported it is also looking to make interactive content for a younger audience.
Toutiao aggregates news and videos from hundreds of media outlets and has become one of the world's largest news services over its five years.
Bytedance, which was recently valued at $20 billion, says that Musical.ly will remain a separate, independent business. Started by Zhang Yiming, Toutiao is on track to make about United States dollars 2.5 billion in revenue this year, largely from advertising.
The company behind China's hottest news app is buying one of the country's biggest social media platforms. 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.
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