Tiktok owner Bytedance has halted updates for Topbuzz, its news aggregator app for overseas markets, the company confirmed on Friday.

Why it matters: Topbuzz is part of Bytedance’s attempt to replicate the success of Jinri Toutiao, the company’s popular news aggregator for Chinese users. However, the app, which amasses news stories from publications such as British newspaper the Daily Mail and American news website The Daily Beast, has seen a lukewarm reception from overseas users.

  • The app was downloaded around 20,000 times globally in April, according to app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. By comparison, Jinri Toutiao notched 800,000 downloads worldwide in May.
  • Bytedance is known as an “app factory,” meaning that it maintains a wide range of product lines, from video-sharing apps to mobile games and productivity tools. While products that prove to be popular get more resources from the company, underperforming apps are quickly deserted.
  • The move follows a reshuffle in March of Bytedance’s leadership team with company founder and CEO Zhang Yiming shifting to take charge of the company’s overseas business.

Details: Topbuzz has been taken down from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play store as of Thursday afternoon. A company spokesperson said the company is no longer providing new versions of the app and will gradually reduce article updates to existing users.

  • “We are proud of the work that we accomplished with Topbuzz, but have determined that other areas of the business should be our priority going forward,” the company said in a statement sent to TechNode.

Context: In September, The Information reported that Bytedance was in talks with potential buyers for the news aggregator including US-based media companies.

  • Launched in 2015, Topbuzz has 36 million monthly active users (MAU) worldwide, according to its website. The app says its content comes from more than 200,000 publishers and creators around the world.
  • Media partners listed on its website include the Associated Press, Vice, and Huffpost. Users can also submit articles to the platform.

Wei Sheng

Writing about semiconductors and telecommunications.