ByteDance Ramps Up Investment in Free Novel Business

TikTok parent company ByteDance recently relaunched a free reading app called “Hongguo Novel,” according to a report by Tech Planet on December 23. Previously, another free novel app released by ByteDance called “Tomato Novel” was removed from app stores for a while, and Hongguo Novel was launched during that period. After the Tomato Novel became available again, the latter quietly went offline.

Hongguo Novel has now been launched again, and its logo has been updated. It is positioned as an app focusing on free novels and audiobooks. On the introduction page, the company has chosen to emphasize the free nature of the content.

SEE ALSO: ByteDance to Continue Making Structural Adjustments

Compared with Tomato Novel, the design of Hongguo Novel is quite simple. The categories of novels include rebirth stories, romance, fan-fiction, published novels, audiobooks and other types. The app supports offline reading, playing audio while reading, automatic page turning, dark mode and other functions.

In order to attract new users, Hongguo Novel has also added a monetary bonus. Users can get gold coins by completing tasks, then exchange them for cash.

According to the “2021 Report on the Development of Chinese Network Literature” released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, by the end of 2021, the market size of online literature in China had exceeded 30 billion, and the total number of online literature readers had reached 502 million, with the data still rising. This year alone, many major internet companies such as ByteDance, Kuaishou, and Baidu have launched their own novel businesses.

ByteDance’s novel business is mainly supported by Tomato Novel, and the promotional channels of the company’s novel business are mainly Douyin and a series of free or paid novel apps.

According to data released by Questmobile, as of December 2021, the monthly activity users of Tomato Novel had reached 93.27 million, far exceeding the performance of other similar apps. It has become a major IP generator for ByteDance. Many novels published on this platform have been adopted into cartoons, TV series, and movies after gaining widespread attention.

At present, novel businesses are actually no longer limited to novels. Based on novels, they are creating a full entertainment ecosystem, with IP adaptation for short dramas and cartoons. In this way, they can form a strategic depth in content ecology and develop various commercial modes.