ByteDance unit establishes venture with Chinese state media firm

Technology

FILE PHOTO: Tik Tok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken November 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – A unit of ByteDance, the owner of video-sharing platform TikTok, has established a joint venture with a Chinese state media group to work on software development, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology, official registration documents showed.

ByteDance, which is one of China’s fastest-growing startups, has formed a series of partnerships with state media organizations in order to feed its leading news aggregator platform, Jinri Toutiao.

Under the latest deal, Beijing Liangzi Yuedong Technology Co Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of ByteDance, will own 49% of the new company, Pengpai Audiovisual Technology (Jinan) Co Ltd, with Shanghai Dongfang Newspaper Co Ltd holding the remaining 51% majority stake, the documents from the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System showed.

Shandong-based Pengpai Audiovisual was established on Dec. 10 with a registered capital of 10 million yuan, according to the documents. Pengpai is the Chinese name of ThePaper.cn, an online newspaper published by Shanghai Dongfang.

Beijing-based ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ByteDance’s TikTok platform has become popular with U.S. teenagers and drawn stars like Ariana Grande and Katy Perry, but the company’s ties with Chinese authorities have faced scrutiny in recent weeks amid a U.S. national security panel’s inquiry into the safety of the personal data it handles.

Reporting by Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai and Yingzhi Yang in Beijing; Editing by Helen Popper

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