ByteDance did not give financial details of the deal in a statement on Friday, but Chinese media reports said the acquisition of Musical.ly, an app especially popular with teenagers that allows users to post videos of themselves accompanying their favourite songs, was valued at between US$800 million and US$1 billion.
Musical.ly was founded in 2104 in Shanghai by Louis Yang and Alex Zhu, and claims by more than 100 million active users.
Millions of teens use the app to share videos of themselves lip-syncing to popular songs and making amusing faces. In 2016, it rolled out a live-streaming app called Live.ly.
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ByteDance's Toutiao app uses AI to analyse readers' habits and send them customised content.
The Beijing-based firm, which recently bought video platform Flipagram and also owns English news app TopBuzz, declined to comment on its current valuation. The Musical.ly founders and team will join Bytedance and continue to run the platform.
The merger should help Musical.ly grow in new markets such as Japan and South Korea as well as in China, where it has struggled to gain a foothold despite its popularity in other parts of the world. It said the transaction will give it an important USA presence, adding Musical.ly's 100 million lip-synching users to Toutiao's own 120 million readers and viewers, while potentially adding a social media component.
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"For Musical.ly, it is a good price".
The deal is one of several concluded by Bytedata lately as it looks to expand its global presence. 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. Under the deal, Studio71's content will be subtitled in Chinese and carried on Bytedance's Top Buzz platform.
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