#Asia Musical.ly, a huge hit with teens, is acquired by ambitious Chinese media startup


music, teens, millennials

Photo credit: Alice Moore / Unsplash.

Musical.ly, the app described by Teen Vogue as a mixture of Vine, Snapchat, and Dubsmash, has been acquired in a surprise deal.

Based in Shanghai, China, but predominantly used by teens in North America and Europe, Musical.ly has grown to 200 million users making and watching a mishmash of homemade music and comic videos. This year it also rolled out Live.ly for live streaming.

The acquirer is Bytedance, the ambitious Chinese media startup behind the smash-hit news app Toutiao, which has 120 million readers each day across China. The terms of the deal are not disclosed, but an overnight rumor snagged by The Wall Street Journal says it’s US$800 million to US$1 billion. A Bytedance representative declined to disclose the amount to Tech in Asia.

Bytedance is said to be worth US$20 billion as it raises more funding.

See: China’s $20 billion news app

More eyeballs

In a statement this morning, Bytedance vowed to boost Musical.ly with its content-driven AI and help expand the social network’s “reach in China and around Asia.”

Bytedance already has a growing media empire around the world that includes Flipagram, Topbuzz, and Tik Tok.

Alex Zhu, Musical.ly co-founder and co-CEO, today described Bytedance, with its AI know-how, as the “ideal partner.”

“Musical.ly’s vision is to make entertainment more personal, participatory and interactive, by enabling anyone to be a content creator. To achieve this, we need to constantly innovate to provide new and exciting video creation tools to our users, and we see AI as a critical factor in augmenting human creativity,” added Zhu.

If you’ve not heard of Musical.ly, your kids would prefer it stays that way. In a survey, one-sixth of youngsters aged 13 to 19 said Musical.ly is the app “they were most excited about and doubted adults would know about,” reported Business Insider.

See: How a Chinese startup won the hearts of American teens

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