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Business News (more headlines) 11-11-2017

Bytedance And Musical.ly Announce Agreement To Merge

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Bytedance, a leading AI-powered content platform, and Musical.ly, one of the world's most popular mobile platforms for short form video, have today announced that they have signed an agreement for Musical.ly to merge with Bytedance. Upon closing of the transaction, 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.

Musical.ly's co-founders, Louis Yang and Alex Zhu, and their global team, will join the Bytedance team and will continue to run the Musical.ly platform. The transaction is expected to close before the end of November, depending on certain closing conditions being met.

Yiming Zhang, founder and CEO of Bytedance, said: "We are delighted to welcome Musical.ly to the Bytedance family. Louis, Alex and their team have built a hugely powerful and engaging platform, and we see immediate and exciting opportunities to build on the obvious synergy with our business. 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. At the same time, our global-leading AI technology will help Musical.ly to accelerate their incredible pace of innovation inmobile video creation,"

Alex Zhu, co-founder and co-CEO of Musical.ly, said: "Bytedance is an ideal partner for Musical.ly in many ways. 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. Bytedance's leading AI technologies and top-notch AI developers can empower us to innovate faster and roll out new user offerings unlike anything users have experienced before. At Musical.ly, we have recently also been focused on expanding into Asian markets, and this partnership will allow us to access Bytedance's massive user base in China, Japan and Korea, and around Asia. This will enable us to provide a completely unique experience to our content creators, influencers, celebrities, and media partners on the platform."

Since it was launched in October 2014, Musical.ly has become one of the world's most popular social networks for short form video, with strong reach across the United States, Europe, South America, and India.

Upon closing, Musical.ly will leverage Bytedance's sophisticated AI technology to enhance the Musical.ly experience for content creators on the platform. Bytedance operates a suite of products that provide creators and users with a unique content experience, powered by some of the most advanced machine and deep learning algorithms in application globally. 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. Bytedance's AI technology has global application and the company offers a range of products across global markets, including Flipagram, Topbuzz, and Tik Tok.

Musical.ly will also work with Bytedance to develop its presence in new markets including China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia, where Bytedance already has a strong footprint. Musical.ly and Bytedance will also work on developing new offerings for content creators and brand partners to allow those partners to benefit from Musical.ly's global reach and Bytedance's active user base in China and Asia.

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