Toutiao’s parent company ByteDance is taking globalization seriously and its recent shopping spree proves it. On Wednesday, the proud owner of China’s popular AI media platform announced that it will form a collaboration with Cheetah Mobile by buying its France-based news aggregator News Republic for $86.6 million. It also announced that it will be investing $50 million in Cheetah’s streaming service Live.me during its Series B round. And today, Toutiao’s parent company Bytedance announced that it is merging with Musical.ly.
The Musical.ly purchase is Bytedance’s biggest foreign venture yet. The popular short-form video mobile platform has a strong presence in the United States, Europe, South America, and India. According to the company’s statement, ByteDance aims to leverage AI technology to enhance the Musical.ly’s experience, while Shanghai-based Musical.ly will get a chance to expand further into the Asian market.
Musical.ly’s purchase and the Cheetah Mobile collaboration are just a part of its big globalization scheme started this year. ByteDance is currently expanding its reach with its own news feed app Jinri Toutiao or by investing in similar news aggregation platforms. Aside from holding stakes in Dailyhunt and BABE in Indonesia, Toutiao acquired Flipagram, a popular video app in the US, this February.
“Chinese entrepreneurs must also improve their own capabilities as they go global. Google is a company without borders. I hope Toutiao will be as border-less as Google. Personally, I hope to do things that are interesting and meaningful to society,” said the founder of Toutiao Zhang Yiming in a recent interview published by TechNode.
The company has also been heavily investing in video content. In September, ByteDance officially launched Tik Tok (AKA Douyin) across Asia, a music video platform and social network rivaling Musical.ly.
ByteDance’s Jinri Toutiao has been called the next BAT. In August Toutiao received $2 billion of funding at a valuation of over $20 billion. In June 2017, Toutiao reached 178 million users, the size of 7.71 million live users, and ranked 5th on the longest monthly usage time among all applications, according to QuestMobile’s 2017 Q2 Mobile Internet report.