China’s Bytedance plans to invest into Indian content startups, eyes new targets

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Bytedance, a parent company of TikTok, based out of China, has announced that it will infuse funds in Indian content startups to create a bunch of apps to aim new audiences, said a source.

The company said that it has set up a team to scout for companies in content, social commerce and education technology.

Importantly, the development, from the Chinese conglomerate, comes at a time when several Chinese companies are planning to put their funds into the Indian startups.

“They (ByteDance) have been toying with this for a while and have had a lot of people come from China to meet Indian startups,” sources said.

“It has an ecosystem in China, and they want to create something similar in India—an ecosystem of different content platforms,” sources added.

Founded in 2012, ByteDance entered India in September 2017 through its live-streaming app Vigo Video. However, last August, it took the Indian social media market by storm with the launch of TikTok.

Around the same time, ByteDance launched local language social media app Helo, a ShareChat clone.

“This strategy might help ByteDance build a long tail of content, which can lead to potentially higher retention in the longer term as users coming initially for fun videos/content can then get engaged with other content forms, which are more utilitarian in nature,” said Himanshu Gupta, a former WeChat India executive, who has an understanding of the Chinese ecosystem in India.

“As far as social commerce is concerned, I think it’s the right way to monetize India-2, India-3 audiences since the yields on advertising for these users are likely to be very low and content-led commerce is a big opportunity,” Gupta added.


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