The expansion of China’s Bytedance, an ambitious $30 billion tech firm, and its extremely addictive Toutiao information aggregator app has set off a seek for providers with comparable progress potential the world over.
India, second in inhabitants solely to China with quickly rising web entry, is an apparent place to look, and would-be pretender to the Toutiao crown has been discovered within the form of NewsDog, a Chinese company that stumbled on success in India. In the present day, NewsDog introduced a $50 million Sequence C spherical led by Chinese language web large Tencent.
Toutiao is a phenomenon in China. The app has round 200 million each day customers, and it is likely one of the few new tech merchandise to emerge in a China the place Tencent and Alibaba dominate the buyer app panorama. Level in case, it’s so mainstream now that it has even run into points with China’s web censors. Toutiao is basically a information aggregation service that lets shoppers catch their each day reads and uncover tales with an expertise tailor-made to their habits and likes.
That’s very a lot the fashion of NewsDog, which claims over 50 million customers. The service has branched out to cowl 10 of Indians many languages, whereas it lately established a platform — ‘WeMedia’ — that augments its content material aggregation by permitting customers to submit tales, too.
This spherical is a significant milestone for the corporate. In a aggressive setting, it’s the largest fundraising spherical from a information app firm in India whereas it extra clearly brings Tencent, the $500 billion tech giant, on board with its expertise and help. Different buyers embrace Chinese language VCs Danhua Capital (DHVC) and Legend Capital in addition to Chinese language cell app agency DotC United.
NewsDog’s competitors consists of Dailyhunt — which is backed by Toutiao-owner Bytedance — Inshorts, which counts Tiger International amongst its buyers, and NewsPoint, which is owned by media agency Occasions Web.
One different competitors is UC News, a service from Alibaba-owned UC Net, which, like NewsDog, is Chinese language.
NewsDog was launched in 2016 by CEO Forrest Chen Yukun, a pc science graduate from Tsinghua University graduate, and Yi Ma, who holds a PhD from Princeton College and beforehand labored at Baidu and Goldman Sachs .
Information from App Annie exhibits that NewsDog is the highest information app within the Google Play Retailer in India — Android is the nation’s dominant working system — forward of Dailyhunt and NewsPoint in second and third, respectively. Based on Sensor Tower, one other app obtain analytics service, the app has 43 million installs and its downloads grew 76 % year-on-year within the first quarter of the 12 months.
NewsDog plans to make use of this new funding to tug additional forward of the competitors by specializing in including extra languages and deepening its content material library.
The corporate stated it’s already utilizing machine studying to assist produce an expertise that’s personalized to customers — the expertise that Toutiao pioneered in China — and it plans to double down on that.
“Poly tradition and a number of languages make content material matching an extremely exhausting downside,” Chen stated in an announcement. “To this point, now we have made good preliminary progress however content material enterprise is like an countless journey. There is no such thing as a end line, you need to simply preserve operating.”
NewsDog is aiming to succeed in 100 million customers as its subsequent milestone as India’s web inhabitants surges. The nation is tipped to succeed in 500 million web customers by June 2018, based on a report from the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Kantar IMRB. That’s up from 481 million six months prior, however web penetration in rural areas is at simply 20 % in contrast with 65 % in city India which signifies much more progress potential.
For Tencent, in the meantime, this funding is one other upping of its tempo in India.
Initially, the corporate was gradual to place cash to work in India, the place Alibaba entered early to purchase stakes within the likes of Paytm, however regularly Tencent has obtained its checkbook out. Its most notable India-based offers embrace WhatsApp challenger Hike, healthcare platform Practo, and music service Gaana. This 12 months, it is reportedly specializing in discovering promising early-stage startups the place it could possibly make investments $5-15 million.
In NewsDog, Tencent will hope to leap on the information aggregator prepare that it missed in China, giving Bytedance a possibility to develop into a significant Chinese language shopper model.