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Why Is TikTok's Parent Company Buying Up Hospitals?

Imagine if Pinterest bought UnitedHealth.

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockAug 11 2022, 11:04 UTC
A finger points at a TikTok logo in the dark
This is the latest step of the company's foray into healthcare. Image credit: Ascannio/Shutterstock.com

TikTok's parent company ByteDance has bought a Chinese chain of hospitals for about 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion). The company and its subsidiaries, known mainly for its short video platform, now owns 100 percent of Amcare, Bloomberg has reported.

So why are they doing this? Has some new trend hospitalized so many on the social platform that it's just easier to cut out the middle man? Perhaps some sort of scheme where they promote trends such as dry scooping or the blackout challenge and then clean up when the hospital bills come in? Well, no, the obvious answer here is likely: money.

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The company – based in China – has moved into purchasing other sectors in recent years, and is potentially working on a music-streaming app of its own. This isn't ByteDance's first major move into the lucrative Chinese healthcare industry, where the market value is around 6.22 trillion yuan ($1 trillion). A previous dip of the toe saw them buy online medical encyclopedia Baikemy.com in 2020, before creating an app that connects patients to doctors nationwide, allowing them to send photos and text information about their illnesses for help and diagnosis.

The recent move to buy Amcare is one of the largest purchases since the ruling party of China began a crackdown on tech giants in 2020, bringing in anti-monopoly laws to target firms they believe are too big. 

ByteDance is far from the first company to try to muscle in on healthcare following success in their original sector. Last month, Amazon bought One Medical, a company that also works in online healthcare and virtual appointments, for about $3.9 billion.


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