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ByteDance fires hundreds and slashes games arm

ANN/THE STRAITS TIMES – ByteDance is planning to cut hundreds of jobs in gaming and also wind down its showpiece brand Nuverse in a major withdrawal from the sector, handing a victory to rival Tencent Holdings.

People familiar with the matter said TikTok’s owner will fire several hundred people, unwind projects under development and weigh potential sales of existing titles.

The closure marks ByteDance’s biggest retreat from a once-booming gaming industry dominated by Tencent and its smaller foe NetEase. The start-up, known for short-video platforms TikTok and Douyin, has gradually scaled back its gaming ambitions in the post-COVID era after failing to grab market share from Tencent. The Beijing-based firm is considering selling Shanghai Moonton Technology, a high-profile studio it acquired for USD4 billion in 2021, Bloomberg News has reported.

“We regularly review our businesses and make adjustments to centre on long-term strategic growth areas. Following a recent review, we’ve made the difficult decision to restructure our gaming business,” a ByteDance spokesperson said.

ByteDance, founded more than a decade ago by Zhang Yiming and Liang Rubo, grew into an Internet leader worth more than USD200 billion thanks to the virality of TikTok and Douyin. In recent years, it bought studios and exclusive distribution rights to titles, hoping to get into the games business much as it disrupted social media players from Meta Platforms to Tencent.

The start-up’s pullback comes as the Chinese mobile gaming sector struggles to regain its COVID-era heights during a global downturn.

Sector leader Tencent, however, has managed to sustain growth, driven by its industry-leading portfolio as well as resilient consumption in cheaper segments such as online entertainment.

Sources said ByteDance will fire several hundred people, unwind projects under development and weigh potential sales of existing titles. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES
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