China’s Bytedance snaps up social video app Musical.ly for at least $800m

Ben Heathcote

In App Deals

November 11, 2017

Chinese tech giant Bytedance has acquired Musical.ly, the lip-syncing app popular with teenagers and young people, in a deal reportedly worth between $800 million and $1 billion.

Based in Shanghai and established three years ago by co-founders Louis Yang and Alex Zhu, Musical.ly claims to have over 200 million users globally and is one of the first Chinese social media apps to gain popularity in Europe and the US. It is available on both Android and iOS.

Musical.ly lets users record 15-second videos of themselves lip syncing to popular songs, which they can then share either privately or publicly over the app’s social network. The company also has a live-streaming platform called Live.ly.

Meanwhile, fast-growing tech start-up Bytedance is known for its flagship news and content aggregation app Toutiao, which has become one of the world’s most popular news services boasting 120 million daily active users.

Zhang Yiming, Bytedance’s chief executive, said in a statement:

“(By) integrating Musical.ly’s global reach with Bytedance’s massive user base in China and key Asian markets, we are creating a significant global platform for our content creators and brands to engage with new markets.”

Musical.ly co-founders Yang and Zhu will both join Bytedance and continue to operate the platform. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but news reports suggest that Bytedance paid between $800 million and $1 billion.