ByteDance is best known as the owner of TikTok and Douyin (essentially TikTok for China) but they are now beginning to make significant strides in gaming. In 2019, ByteDance launched Nuverse, a game development and publishing company. This week, through Nuverse, ByteDance acquired Moonton for $4B to continue their push into gaming.
Part of Moontons portfolio is Mobile Legends: Bang Bang which is a MOBA and has over 1B installs and 75M MAUs (Business World). While Moonton is based in China, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a popular game in South East Asia as well due to overall mobile game popularity in that region. They even brought on Manny Pacquiao as their Philippines Brand Ambassador (Esports Observer). Having one of the more popular mobile games could help them expand to other markets like Latin America where mobile gaming is also extremely popular.
What really makes this acquisition and push into gaming interesting is looking at ByteDance as a UA channel for games (and vice versa). TikTok and Douyin are both mobile platforms that offer direct UA for mobile games. TikTok has 700M MAUs and Douyin has 600M MAUs, combining for over 1B MAUs in reach for ByteDance. ByteDance also generates over $25B in revenue a year giving them a massive war chest for more acquisitions (Reuters).
Furthermore, it looks like Tencent was also rumored to be involved in bidding for Moonton and was beat out by ByteDance in the end. Tencent was likely interested due to its competitive ownership in games like Honor of Kings and League of Legends (via its ownership in Riot). As a side note, Tencent and Riot have also both sued (and won against) Moonton for copyright infringement which also makes this an interesting twist (Dot Esports).
With the combination of a massive user base, capital, and global reach, ByteDance is poised to be one of the premier mobile gaming publishers going forward.