ByteDance to call unique head for gaming, signaling ambitions for enterprise: sources

By Julie Zhu and Yingzhi Yang

HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ByteDance, the proprietor of video-sharing app TikTok, will appoint an government to completely lead its nascent gaming enterprise, sources mentioned, signaling its development ambitions within the sector and an intensifying rivalry with tech big Tencent.

Yan Shou, head of each technique and gaming companies, will focus wholly on gaming, as ByteDance sees gaming as the subsequent essential supply of development and plans to roll out a recreation like Honor of Kings, in response to one of many individuals, asking to not be recognized as a result of the data isn’t public.

The transfer comes because the Beijing-based startup, which was valued at $78 billion in late 2018 and is backed by well-known buyers together with SoftBank Group Corp and KKR Inc, is looking for to diversify its enterprise amid a U.S. nationwide safety probe into TikTok.

Gaming turned strategically essential for ByteDance a yr in the past and the division is engaged on a number of full-fledged video games concurrently, in response to separate individuals aware of the matter.

ByteDance declined to remark. Yan didn’t instantly reply to an emailed request for remark.

Gaming is seen as a gentle income supply as customers are inclined to hold taking part in {popular} titles for years. The trade has additionally obtained a lift in current weeks after the coronavirus outbreak pressured many Chinese language residents to remain at residence, driving up recreation downloads.

China’s gaming trade, the world’s greatest, is at present dominated by Tencent Holdings, which developed the profitable cell recreation Honor of Kings and at present makes up over half of the market by gross sales, in response to analysis agency Gamma Information. Different main gamers embrace NetEase.

An elevated deal with gaming by ByteDance will heighten its competitors with Tencent, with which it already competes in areas equivalent to quick video and music streaming.

Yan, vice chairman at ByteDance, stories to firm Founder and CEO Zhang Yiming. Earlier than ByteDance, Yan labored as a method supervisor at Tencent, in response to Yan’s LinkedIn profile.

The personnel change additionally implies that ByteDance wants a brand new vice chairman to supervise its technique and funding staff. At the moment the staff is run by two administrators, and the scenario is meant to be non permanent, in response to one of many sources.

ByteDance first dipped its toes into gaming by launching “mini-games” by way of its Chinese language quick video hit Douyin in February 2019. For the mini-games constructed inside Douyin, customers don’t must obtain them individually and might simply play inside the Douyin app. Mini-games have been first created and launched by Tencent.

(Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Yingzhi Yang in Beijing; Enhancing by Brenda Goh and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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