In brief: TikTok parent, ByteDance, to launch smartphone as app family grows

TikTok parent ByteDance to launch smartphone as app family grows
  • ByteDance, the world’s most valuable startup and the Chinese company behind viral video app TikTok, is going into hardware.
  • The company confirmed it is developing a smartphone, months after saying it acquired certain patents from Smartisan, a Chinese handset startup that also has developed its own operating system.
  • The move comes as a reminder that while TikTok is what the US$75 billion startup is primarily known for globally, ByteDance sees the app as only a piece of its puzzle.
  • Just this year, ByteDance launched two chat apps in China: Duoshan, the video-based platform often compared to Snapchat, and Flipchat, an interest-based instant messaging app.
  • The Beijing-based company continues to operate Jinri Toutiao — which translates to “today’s headlines” — the news aggregator by which it was first known.
  • Trademark registration records suggest that ByteDance also is eyeing financial technology sectors such as payment, which can be plugged into the company’s various social media platforms.
  • A smartphone of its own could serve as a valuable tool for the company to direct traffic to its entire family of apps, which likely will come installed on the device.
  • ByteDance also will be able to collect more user data and provide better system support for its platforms by cutting out the intermediary.
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