ByteDance, the app factory behind TikTok and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, has announced that it will acquire a 30% stake in Chinese online sports community portal Hupu for RMB 1.26 billion (USD 182 million), 36Kr reports.
Hupu, which started as a basketball forum in Chicago in 2004, is now a leading platform for sports-related content and business. Its latest valuation, based on this deal, is RMB 7.7 billion (USD 1.1 billion).
Hupu’s user base – sports fans, gamers and tech zealots – overlaps with ByteDance’s Xigua Video and Huoshan Live-streaming platforms, Guangdian Capital’s founding partner Zack Fu told KrASIA.
“They (ByteDance) prefer investing in the business that can retain the users within Bytedance’s product matrix or the products that are able to extend their user profiles,” he said.
ByteDance’s investment comes after Hupu’s second attempt to go public in Shanghai; the paperwork was filed in March, and is still being processed. Hupu filed its first IPO application in 2015, but was rejected by the market regulator in 2017.
This is not the first time for ByteDance to dip its toes in sports-related business. Last November, the Beijing-based company formed a multi-year partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) to put the latter’s content on ByteDance’s various platforms, including TikTok, Douyin, Jinri Toutiao, and Xigua Video.
36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.