The first prototype was released in April 2014, and the official version was launched in August of that year.
The acquisition represents the biggest venture overseas thus far for a Chinese start-up valued at US$20 billion that has already spawned one of the world's largest news services. Bytedance proclaimed the contract Friday devoid of mentioning a price tag.
Musical.ly, founded three years ago in Shanghai, is the first Chinese social media app to make it big in the USA, where it has about 20 million users.
Musical.ly, Chinese-founded but popular around the world with teens posting videos of themselves to their favourite tunes, would merge with Bytedance in a deal worth US$800 million to US$1 billion, according to a person familiar with the plans. The start-up's smack contracts with media firms including Viacom Inc. Bloomberg has reported it's also looking to make interactive content for a younger audience. In June, a short version of MTV'sNick Cannon's Wild 'N Out, a how-to show called Fashion to DIY For, a series called Greatest Party Story Ever and Hearst's Seventeen and the City all debuted on the app.
Earlier this week ByteDance acquired news and video aggregation platform News Republic from China's Cheetah Mobile - itself an early investor in Musical.ly - for US$86.6 million. Now all three are refining their own news apps to try and steal business from Toutiao.
If you live outside of Asia, you're about to get more familiar with the five-year-old internet news and video aggregator. Started by Zhang Yiming, Toutiao is on track to make about Dollars 2.5 billion in revenue this year, largely from advertising.
Bytedance wants to become a global success by turning its artificial intelligence tools on the rest of the world.
The company behind China's hottest news app is buying one of the country's biggest social media platforms.