ByteDance looking to sell TopBuzz, its less popular international news app, report says
TopBuzz is ByteDance's international version of Toutiao, but the news-aggregation platform isn't as popular as TikTok
China’s ByteDance, famous for its short video hit app TikTok, is in talks with potential buyers to sell its Toutiao-like overseas newsfeed app TopBuzz, including with some US-based media companies, technology title The Information reported this week.
The app, which is similar to the domestic news aggregating app Toutiao which uses algorithms to tailor news for users, has not proven as popular with overseas customers as TikToK, which ranks first on the US iOS app store in the entertainment category followed by Netflix, according to The Information report.
A spokeswoman for ByteDance declined to comment on the matter.
It remains unclear whether the sale talks, which have been going on for at least three months, will result in a deal, according to The Information. A search of the US app store shows that TopBuzz currently ranks 39th in the news category, with Twitter and US local news aggregator Newsbreak ranking first and the second.
ByteDance has been expanding overseas and has received plaudits for being the first Chinese internet company to achieve major success in global markets with a social media app, although it has had to deal with a variety of regulatory hurdles.
ByteDance said in June that its apps, including domestic short video app Douyin and TikTok, gathered a total of 1 billion monthly active users globally as of this January. It also named former Facebook executive Blake Chandlee as the head of strategic partnerships at TikTok.
In July last year, authorities in Indonesia banned TikTok for hosting “pornography, inappropriate content and blasphemy” on its platform before TikTok was later reinstated there.
The Beijing-based new media giant, whose news app Toutiao is the most popular in China, counts deep-pocketed investors such as SoftBank among its backers. It secured an estimated US$76 billion valuation in its most recent funding round last year.