ByteDance, the Chinese tech giant behind the popular video app TikTok, is considering selling its gaming unit Moonton Technology, which develops the hit mobile game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. This move comes two years after ByteDance acquired the Shanghai-based studio in a deal that valued it at $4 billion.
ByteDance’s Potential Sale of Gaming Unit Moonton Technology
ByteDance is working with an adviser to gauge interest from potential buyers for Moonton Technology, according to people familiar with the matter. The startup is looking to streamline its operation and focus on its core businesses, such as short video, social media, and e-commerce.
ByteDance acquired Moonton Technology in 2021, as part of its ambitious expansion into the global video games market, which was worth $187 billion in 2020. Moonton Technology is best known for its multiplayer online battle arena game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, which has over 1 billion downloads and 100 million monthly active users worldwide.
However, regulatory issues, tough rivalry, and underperforming gaming studios have hampered ByteDance’s video game ventures. ByteDance closed 101 Studio in Shanghai last year. ByteDance restructured Pico VR to focus on hardware, slashing software, and games employment this month.
Discussions with Potential Buyers
ByteDance has met with several companies to discuss the sale of Moonton Technology, including at least one Saudi-based firm, two people familiar with the matter said. One of the sources said that the talks were still at an early stage and a deal was not guaranteed.
The sources did not disclose the names of the potential buyers or the valuation of Moonton Technology. However, ByteDance bought the studio at a valuation of about $4 billion in 2021, the sources said.
ByteDance declined to comment on the matter.
Impact on the Market
The possible sale of Moonton Technology could have significant implications for the video games industry, especially in the fast-growing markets of Southeast Asia and the Middle East, where Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is very popular.
The game is one of the most successful examples of a Chinese mobile game going global, competing with titles such as Tencent’s Honor of Kings and Riot Games’ League of Legends: Wild Rift. The game also has a strong esports presence, with tournaments such as the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League and the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang World Championship.
The sale of Moonton Technology could also affect ByteDance’s position in the video games market, as the company would lose one of its most valuable gaming assets. ByteDance still owns other gaming studios, such as Nuverse and Ohayoo, which have produced games such as DoomCar and Brain Out. However, none of these games have achieved the same level of success as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.