ByteDance Ups Stakes in Battle with Tencent Holdings

    • ByteDance has agreed to acquire mobile game developer and publisher Moonton Technology.
    • The acquisition allows ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, to more directly compete with Tencent.

ByteDance has agreed to acquire mobile game developer and publisher Moonton Technology through its flagship gaming studio, Nuverse. The deal values Moonton at $4 billion, per Reuters.

The acquisition allows ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, to more directly compete with Tencent, another Chinese conglomerate, and a global leader in mobile gaming, among other industries. Tencent made a bid to acquire Moonton, but ByteDance matched it last week.

“Through cross-team collaboration and drawing on lessons and insights from its own rapid growth, Moonton provides the strategic support needed to accelerate Nuverse’s global gaming offerings,” ByteDance said.

Tencent reported Q4 2020 revenue of $20.5 billion, a 26% uptick compared to the same period last year. Full-year revenue for FY2020 reached $73.8 billion, up 28% from the year before.

But ByteDance isn’t far behind. The company is on course to generate $27 billion in advertising revenue this year in China. ByteDance also doubled its sales in 2020 to $35 billion despite threats to ban TikTok in the U.S. 

TikTok has more than 100 million users in the U.S and 700 million total monthly active users worldwide. ByteDance has also acquired gaming studios Ohayoo and PixDance, and launched Pixmain, a game publishing arm.

“Be prepared for a long war between Tencent and ByteDance,” Dr. Serkan Toto, CEO and founder of Tokyo-based Kantan Games, told CNBC.