China’s Qutoutiao is burning millions of dollars to take on TikTok parent

Chinese startup Bytedance is finding itself surrounded by challengers as its empire of new media products, including global video app TikTok and Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, gather steam. Tencent tried to play catch-up with a handful of new short-video services, and a Facebook clone of TikTok was reportedly in the making.
Less famous players also tried to take on Bytedance, but the costs of keeping up with the world’s most valuable startup are high. One company that’s made its mark is Qutoutiao, which is pronounced “chew-tow-ti-ow” and means “fun headlines” in Chinese.
Like ByteDance, the Shanghai-based company began as a news aggregator banking on personalized content often characterized by gossipy news and viral videos. By the time Qutoutiao debuted in 2016, Jinri Toutiao had more than 40 million daily users and was fast growing by feeding people what they wanted. Qutoutiao needed something more than just clickbaits and the solution was a costly scheme that rewards users with cash prizes for consuming more content and getting their friends to sign up.
China’s Qutoutiao is burning millions of dollars to take on TikTok parent
Screenshots of the Qutoutiao app, which is characterized by clickbait content akin to those on Jinri Toutiao
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