Although financial details were not disclosed, multiple outlets are reporting that Bytedance is paying around $800 million for the buzzy video service.
The acquirement signifies the major project overseas thus far for a Chinese startup priced at $20 billion that is, by now, generated one of the world's most significant news services.
Bytedance is set to acquire Musical.ly, a video sharing app with more than 100 million users worldwide, the companies said on Friday. The company's flagship product, Toutiao, is the largest AI-powered content platform in China, with over 120 million daily active users each spending an average of 74 minutes on the platform.
Musical.ly has more than 215 million users (or "Musers" as it calls them) for its lip-syncing and short-video app, skewing toward teen girls.
Musical.ly, which lets users take videos of themselves lip-synching to songs, launched in 2014.
Besides Musical.ly's passionate user base, Bytedance will get inroads into Hollywood with the acquisition: Musical.ly has deals with Viacom, NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines Digital Media, which have developed short-form shows for the video platform. The lab's mission is to develop machine-learning algorithms for personalized content recommendations.
"Musical.ly will continue to operate as an independent platform, integrating Bytedance's global leading AI technology and leveraging its reach in China and key markets across Asia to enhance Musical.ly's offering to users, creators, and partners", the two companies said in a statement.
Jinri Toutiao - or "Today's Headlines" - is one of the few Chinese Internet operations to have found success without the backing of one of the country's three biggest industry players: Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊), Baidu Inc (百度) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴). The company's co-founders, Alex Zhu and Louis Yang, are joining Bytedance and will continue to run Musical.ly.
The Beijing-based firm, which recently bought video platform Flipagram and also owns English news app TopBuzz, declined to comment on its current valuation.