AI Startups Are Facing a ReckoningRead more

Art by Clark Miller
Art by Clark Miller

ByteDance’s Baby Bump: Why Did the TikTok Parent Buy a Chain of Birthing Centers?

The Chinese company adds women’s and children’s hospitals to its list of curious acquisitions.

Sept. 9, 2022 9:15 AM PDT

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, made way for a new addition to the family last month, when it reportedly paid $1.5 billion to take control of one of the largest private hospital companies in China. Founded in 2006, Amcare Healthcare operates a chain of lavish birthing centers and women’s and children’s hospitals in major cities like Beijing and Shenzhen. Its VIP postpartum package costs roughly $32,000 for 28 days of care.

The purchase raised eyebrows on the other side of the Pacific, where some observers wondered why a company best known for hooking teens on viral dance videos would get involved in the highly regulated healthcare industry. ByteDance has previously invested in some firms outside the tech sector, including a coffee shop chain, but Amcare is almost certainly its biggest acquisition. The move came after ByteDance recently dissolved its strategic investment team.

So what gives? ByteDance did not respond to requests for comment. But longtime observers of the company, like Siren Chen, a Shanghai-based senior healthcare analyst at market research firm EqualOcean, speculate that ByteDance could leverage its massive video and news apps to build trust with patients and convince them to choose Amcare’s services.

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Former Apple design chief Jony Ive and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Photos by Getty.
Designer Jony Ive and OpenAI’s Sam Altman Discuss AI Hardware Project
Jony Ive, the renowned designer of the iPhone, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman have been discussing building a new AI hardware device, according to two people familiar with the conversations.
From left to right: Blair Effron, Robert Pruzan and David Handler. Photos by Getty; Tidal Partners.
Exclusive Finance
Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley Dreams
The San Francisco Bay Area–based bankers at Centerview Partners, the investment bank that advised Silicon Valley Bank’s owner and Credit Suisse through recent turmoil, got two doses of bad news last week.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photos via Getty
Exclusive microsoft ai
How Microsoft is Trying to Lessen Its Addiction to OpenAI as AI Costs Soar
Microsoft’s push to put artificial intelligence into its software has hinged almost entirely on OpenAI , the startup Microsoft funded in exchange for the right to use its cutting-edge technology.
From left: Paul Graham, Garry Tan and Michael Seibel. Photos by Getty. Art by Mike Sullivan.
Exclusive startups ai
Y Combinator’s Garry Tan Goes to the Mat
Garry Tan was in his happy place. Surrounded by food trucks and techies basking in San Francisco’s September sun, the CEO of Y Combinator snapped selfies with entrepreneurs as he meandered through a crowd of 2,700 attendees at the startup accelerator’s annual alumni event.
Dave Rogenmoser, cofounder of Jasper. Photo via Getty.
Exclusive startups ai
Jasper, an Early Generative AI Winner, Cuts Internal Valuation as Growth Slows
Jasper AI, an early darling of the generative artificial intelligence boom, has cut the internal value of its common shares 20%, according to former employees who were notified by the company.
The X (formerly Twitter) office in San Francisco on July 29. Photo by Bloomberg via Getty.
Musk’s X Cuts Half of Election Integrity Team After Promising to Expand It
Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter , is cutting around half of the global team devoted to limiting disinformation and election fraud on the platform, including the head of the group, according to three people familiar with the situation.