World’s biggest unicorn ByteDance acquires 30 per cent of Chinese online sports forum Hupu

Yingzhi Yang
World’s biggest unicorn ByteDance acquires 30 per cent of Chinese online sports forum Hupu

ByteDance, owner of hit short video app TikTok, has bought a 30 per cent stake in online sports commentary and news platform Hupu for 1.26 billion yuan (US$150 million), expanding its presence in China’s media space.

ByteDance said in a statement that it will collaborate with Hupu on content and in serving content creators, letting “information create more value for the users.”

Shanghai-based Hupu was founded in 2004 by Shawn Cheng as an online community where sports fans talk about basketball, football, and other sports. ByteDance’s investment forms part of Hupu’s pre-IPO round of funding. Its public offering process was rebooted and revealed by the Shanghai Securities Regulatory Bureau in March.

Beijing-based ByteDance, valued at around US$76 billion after a funding round last year which catapulted it to the title of world’s biggest unicorn, has recently made forays into various business sectors as it diversifies. Its short video app TikTok has taken the world by storm and stolen a march on domestic internet rivals, although Bytedance has run up against regulatory issues overseas.

Jinri Toutiao, which translates as “Today’s Headlines” in English, is the other flagship app ByteDance is known for apart TikTok. Toutiao is an artificial intelligence-driven news aggregator that recommends different news stories to different types of readers.

ByteDance’s other popular apps in its domestic market include selfie app Faceu. Bytedance is also known for news aggregator TopBuzz and office messaging and efficiency app Lark in international markets. Meanwhile Douyin, the domestic version of TikTok, amassed 250 million daily active users as of this January, according to the company.

Bytedance is also planning to launch a Spotify-like music-streaming app for markets outside China, the Post first reported in April. Last month it said it would build education hardware after acquiring patents from Chinese smartphone maker Smartisan earlier this year.

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