After releasing its own game, ByteDance acquires a full-fledged game publisher

The buyout may buoy the profits of the world’s most valuable startup.

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China’s ByteDance has recently fully acquired a Shanghai-based game developer, Mokun Technology Company Limited, from the game studio 37 Interactive Entertainment, corporate registration information shows.

Mokun was originally bought by 37 Interactive for RMB 139.3 million (US$20.74 million) in May 2017, according to the later’s disclosures.

One of Mokun’s games, Quanminwushuang (translation: “Unparalleled”), has booked monthly turnover exceeding RMB 100 million since going online in December 2015, according to the company.

Mokun’s other game in its product lineup, Fighter of the Destiny (Zetianji in Chinese), has maintained monthly turnover of nearly RMB 100 million since it went online in January 2018.

ByteDance declined to comment on its acquisition of Mokun when contacted by KrASIA on Monday.  Shenzhen-listed 37 Interactive Entertainment did not disclose its sale of Mokun either.

In March 2018, Chinese authorities suspended the issuance of video game licenses. The freeze lasted for nine months, withering revenue for companies that depended on profits from video games. Conglomerates like Tencent were impacted, while many smaller players had to shut down or be sold.

ByteDance’s acquisition of Mokun reflects the company’s goal of adding new channels of revenue besides advertising. The company has set its revenue target for this year at an ambitious RMB 100 billion (US$14.8 billion), according to online news site Jiemian, which cited several unnamed corporate sources.

The company’s short video app Douyin, and its international version TikTok, unveiled its first in-app game one month ago, and rolled out incentives for third-party game developers similar to those of WeChat, KrASIA reported last month.