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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Move over Apple and Google, the next big news efforts to follow are two Chinese news aggregation rivals: Qutoutiao and Toutiao.

Driving the news: Qutoutiao, the 3-year-old news and video aggregation startup backed by Tencent, recently announced that it is receiving a $171 million convertible loan from Chinese tech behemoth Alibaba.

  • The company, whose name literally means “fun headlines,” went public in the U.S. last year with roughly 50 million monthly active users and a market value of $2.1 billion.

Why it matters: Tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent are backing Qutoutiao as it pushes to take on Toutiao, a popular news aggregation app owned by ByteDance.

  • ByteDance, the Chinese tech company that also owns popular music app TikTok, poses a threat to the dominance in this sector of China's 3 biggest tech firms: Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba.
  • Toutiao has become a news aggregation powerhouse in China. The company raised $2 billion in funds at an over $20 billion valuation in 2017. It reportedly has over 200 million daily active users.

Be smart: "It is prudent for both Tencent and Alibaba to invest in Qutoutiao given ByteDance's valuations and progression into the short-form video space," says Humphrey Ho, managing partner at Hylink, China's largest independent digital advertising agency.

  • "Qutoutiao accomplishes Tencent and Alibaba's goals without much overlap. ... Qutoutiao would merely be a platform wherein Alibaba and Tencent can drive to their own platforms, similar to how as TikTok is owned by ByteDance."

Go deeper: China's blueprint for global dominance

Go deeper

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tesla delays Cybertruck until 2023

Tesla debuts the Cybertruck in Hawthorne, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla is at risk of falling behind on one of the most critical products in the American auto industry: pickups.

Why it matters: Pickups are the most profitable segment in the business and account for the first, second and third best-selling vehicles in the country. Without a serious pickup strategy, Tesla could miss out on a huge source of future income.

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

4 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.