Toutiao buys the only Chinese social network big in the U.S.

Business & Technology

A summary of the top news in Chinese business and technology for November 10, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.


The New York Times reports (paywall) that Musical.ly, “the only Chinese social-media company to build a major network outside China,” will be acquired by “a fast-growing Chinese upstart,” Bytedance, the company behind popular news app Toutiao.

  • Musical.ly is a mobile, video-based social network that around 60 million people — mostly under age 18 in the United States — use to record and share short videos set to music.
  • The company was founded in Shanghai in 2014, and is the only Chinese company to have achieved popular success in social networking in the U.S.
  • “Between $800 million and $1 billion” is the price the Times says Bytedance paid for Music.ly.
  • Bytedance’s flagship service Toutiao uses artificial intelligence to curate news feeds for mobile users, and has around 120 million users in China.
  • Earlier this week, we noted that Bytedance had tried to buy Reddit, the U.S.-based social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website.