Chinese tech unicorn ByteDance has acquired cinema ticketing platform Yingtuobang and online comics service Yizhikan Comics to further ramp up its push into the entertainment market, Chinese media outlet Tech Planet reported on Monday.

Why it matters: With the new acquisitions, the Beijing-based TikTok developer is further expanding the reach of its entertainment empire, which already consists of short video apps, short and long-form videos, news aggregation, online novels, gaming, music streaming, idol management, and virtual idols.

  • Although both acquisitions are focused on early-stage startups, ByteDance’s purchases come as tech peers such as Tencent and Alibaba are distancing themselves from portfolio companies in response to mounting pressure from antitrust regulators. 

Details: ByteDance acquired Yingtuobang — a Shanghai-based ticketing startup that supports online purchases, seat reservations, and coupon redemption in more than 8,000 cinemas and theaters across China — last month, Tech Planet reported today.

  • Following the deal, Yingtuobang will maintain its enterprise-focused ticket business. Douyin will help to promote the company’s consumer-facing ticketing services, the report added. Yingtuobang is now marked as a recommended ticket purchasing channel on the short video app, along with Tencent-backed Maoyan and Alibaba’s Taopiaopiao, two of the largest players in the field.
  • ByteDance’s acquisition of Yingtuobang is in line with the company’s push toward local lifestyle services, the home turf of Meituan.
  • Additionally, ByteDance recently acquired Yizhikan Comics through wholly-owned company Beijing Dingzhen Technology Co., Ltd, Tech Planet reported. Yizhikan is an online marketplace that allows users to buy e-comic books and web cartoon services.
  • A ByteDance representative didn’t immediately respond to TechNode’s inquiries on the matter when contacted on Monday.

Context: Both online ticketing and comics are important, expanding verticals in the entertainment field in China.

  • China’s e-comics industry has grown at a rate of more than 20% in the past five years, and the market was expected to reach RMB 4.6 billion ($780 million) in 2021, according to a 2020 report from iMedia Research (in Chinese).
  • ByteDance’s bet on ticketing platforms comes just ahead of China’s week-long Spring Festival national holiday, which saw a record RMB 7.8 billion in box office revenue last year.  
  • ByteDance was once an investor in popular online comics platform Kuaikan but exited in 2019 after Tencent stepped in as a stakeholder.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.