Facebook was looking into buying Musical.ly
In 2016, Kevin Systrom, co-founder and former CEO of Instagram visited Shanghai and met with Musical.ly founders. After his return, he offered Mark Zuckerberg to buy the music video service. Zuckerberg doubted the deal, since at that time Musical.ly's growth had slowed down. In addition, he was worried about the service's popularity among teenagers, and due to this, some issues with the US law could arise that concern processing data of users under 13 years old.
Nevertheless, Facebook CEO was very interested in entering Chinese market, so he agreed to negotiations. In August 2016, Zuckerberg met with Musical.ly co-founder Alex Zhu at Facebook headquarters. In the next month, the Facebook team went to Shanghai to continue negotiations with Zhu and Liu Young, the second founder of Musical.ly. The negotiations, however did not lead to any conclusions.
In 2018, Chinese ByteDance bought Musical.ly for $800 million US. At that time, the app had 100 million users worldwide. After, the new owner renamed it to TikTok.
By the end of 2018, TikTok had 800 million users, Digigday sources said. Since the beginning of 2019, the app was installed by over 500 million users, according to Sensor Tower data. “We wanted our services to work in China, because we believe in globalizing the world. But we could never agree on mutual conditions”, a Facebook spokesman told Bloomberg.