Abu Dhabi-based investment firm G42 (Group 42) has purchased an $100m+ share in Chinese tech company Bytedance at a company valuation of $220bn.
Bytedance, owners of Marvel Snap publisher Nuverse, have been embroiled in ongoing concerns over user data safety around their flagship app TikTok. This investment comes at a lower previous valuation of $220bn versus the $300bn valuation it received last year. The lower valuation reflects issues surrounding the potential banning of the app for government employees in countries like the US and UK which has led to a potential divestiture of the app from its parent company being considered.
Bytedance-owned Nuverse recently celebrated a major win for one of its first published games, as Marvel Snap took home another mobile game of the year accolade from the DICE Awards. The success of Bytedance’s ongoing investment into gaming shows the company taking a neat pivot following its reduced 2023 valuation as the future of their main breadwinner TikTok remains unsure.
The deal with G42 also reflects a broader trend of investment from the Middle-East, especially from affluent countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The region has not only been a major source of funding but also of revenue for the wider mobile games industry, with a reported $2.8bn of games revenue coming from the MENA region as reported in 2022.
Although Bytedance has seen success from its gaming division this has been overshadowed by fears of TikTok potentially being banned in parts of the international market. Bytedance has also been buckling down with a number of layoffs, mainly from their internal gaming division, suggesting a fresh focus on subsidiaries such as Nuverse, who have been going strong with the success of Marvel Snap and announcements of a new title already in development with their partners.