Chinese news app Toutiao buys Musical.ly for $800 million

The Chinese news aggregator app Toutiao has something new to sing about after acquiring the popular video-based social network, Musical.ly.

Launched in 2014, Musical.ly allows users to upload and share 15-second lip-sync videos. Users can pick music and sound clips from an extensive in-app library of popular songs, or choose to use music from their own personal libraries. Much like other popular social networks, users can follow and engage with each other within the app.





The app, which became a viral sensation shortly after its launch, is most popular with tweens and teens between 13 and 20 years old. Of its approximately 60 million users, most are based in the U.S., a benefit for a company like Toutiao that is aiming to expand its user base out of Asia and into western markets.

The undisclosed deal of somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion will nearly double Musical.ly’s previous valuation of $500 million from just over one year ago.

Fans obsessed with the app have no need to worry about any major changes to the platform that could occur after the acquisition. Toutiao has no current plans to merge the two social platforms, and Musical.ly will remain a separate offering, taking advantage of Toutiao’s content curation algorithms and huge Chinese user base.

Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Toutiao, launched in 2012, provides personalized news feeds based on information obtained by analyzing a user’s interaction with content on their social networking apps. With nearly 120 million daily users, Toutiao is one of China’s fastest growing internet services.

 

Musical.ly is not the first video app acquisition for the Chinese firm, whose parent company, Chinese social media giant ByteDance, is valued at $20 billion. In February, Toutiao bought Flipgram, a U.S.-based app that allows users to create short videos with their photos from Instagram.

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Stephanie Prochaska
Associate News Writer: By day, Stephanie works as an engineer; by night, she is an avid reader, dreamer, and adventurer obsessed with all things entrepreneurship and startups. She's dabbled with a few of her own startups (fail fast and often, right?) and is constantly developing ideas for new ones. You can find Stephanie on twitter @its_prochaska and follow her adventures in Instagram at Stephpro.

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Associate News Writer: By day, Stephanie works as an engineer; by night, she is an avid reader, dreamer, and adventurer obsessed with all things entrepreneurship and startups. She's dabbled with a few of her own startups (fail fast and often, right?) and is constantly developing ideas for new ones. You can find Stephanie on twitter @its_prochaska and follow her adventures in Instagram at Stephpro.

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