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Smartphone, streaming services and mobile games: what the owner of TikTok does

A compilation of rumors about the future of the founders of the most expensive startup in the world.

Smartphone, streaming services and mobile games: what the owner of TikTok does
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Since the beginning of 2019, the media has been constantly talking about new projects of the Chinese independent startup ByteDance, which has received world fame thanks to the TikTok social network. Officially, company representatives have never confirmed the rumors: as a rule, they say about the release of new projects after its launch.

recalled the history of the company’s current projects and gathered everything known about the future: its own streaming services, a smartphone, an educational platform and mobile games.

Issued projects of the company

Founded in 2012, ByteDance was originally engaged in development in the field of artificial intelligence. For seven years, the company has created several large applications with millions of users in China. In 2018, Bloomberg called ByteDance with an estimated $ 75 billion the most expensive private startup in the world.

  • In 2012, the company released the first product – an artificial intelligence news aggregator Toutiao: the more posts the user views, the better the algorithm understands its interests. Until now, it remains the most popular ByteDance application in the Chinese market;
  • In March 2016, ByteDance launched the Xigua Video video platform, where you can upload videos for five to seven minutes;
  • In September 2017, the company acquired TikTok – a competitor to its similar application Musical.ly. In February 2019, the service reached one billion downloads;
  • In January, Bytedance released WeChat, a competitor, a Duoshan-like messenger from the Snapchat. In it, users can upload and send short videos to each other, which disappear after 72 hours. Unlike most social networks in Duoshan there is no public access to the number of likes and comments;
  • In April, the company launched the Slack competitor, the corporate Lark instant messenger with a built-in document editor and calendar, on the global market. Third-party developers can add their applications to it. Initially, Lark was created as an internal tool for employees.

Service with exclusive video content – analogue to Netflix

In September 2018, the South China Morning Post edition found out that ByteDance plans to enter the market of video streaming services. The company develops exclusive movies and TV shows for its Xigua Video application.

According to the publication, ByteDance also plans to buy exclusive rights to streaming individual tapes and television shows. Sources close to the company said that a startup is considering a paid service subscription model.

Online educational platform

At the end of March 2019, Chinese media reported that ByteDance was engaged in developing an educational platform for primary and secondary schools.

The company plans to hire former employees of popular Chinese educational sites Xueersi and Yuanfudao, and the first online program will be held during the summer holidays of 2019. According to 36Kr, the first course in the live broadcast will be mathematics.

Mobile games

In March, the controlled company ByteDance, Beijing Zhaoxi Guangnian, acquired thedeveloper of mobile games Shanghai Mokun. Previously, the studio belonged to 37 Interactive Entertainment , which earned 791 million dollars in 2018.

Previously, Mokun has developed a three-dimensional mobile game Three Kingdoms, the action of which takes place at a time when China was divided into three parts. The publisher was competitor ByteDance – the largest Chinese company Tencent. The cost of the transaction remained secret. The post of chairman of the board of directors of Mokun was taken by the first deputy director of ByteDance.

Music service

May 21, Bloomberg reported that ByteDance is developing a music service – a competitor to Spotify and Apple Music. Rumors about this appeared in early April: the South China Morning Post learned that the service will start soon, and a team of 100 people is working on it.

The company plans to launch a streaming platform in the fall of 2019 in poor countries where paid music services are not so popular. At the same time, the new application will not completely copy Spotify or Apple Music.

The service will provide free and paid access with advertising, learned in TechCrunch. The publication claims that ByteDance will launch the application until the end of the current quarter. In Bloomberg noted that part of the TikTok audience will try to translate to paid access.

India is considering India as a key market for ByteDance, according to TechCrunch, as the company received rights to the content of two major Indian labels – T-Series and Times Music. In The Verge they found out that ByteDance plans to use the old licenses that the company received even after purchasing Musical.ly in 2016: then the deals were concluded at a low cost.

Smartphone with pre-installed applications

May 27, The Financial Times, citing sources familiar with the project, said that the owner of TikTok intends to create its own smartphone. On the device, the company plans to pre-install its applications — a news aggregator, video platform, games, and future music service.

According to the publication, the founder of ByteDance, Zhang Imin, “had long dreamed” of a smartphone with pre-installed applications. In early 2019, the company bought several patents from the Chinese smartphone maker Smartisan. However, representatives said that patents are needed “for the development of devices in the field of Internet education.”

Experts interviewed by the publication are skeptical about the ByteDance smartphone. They note that Facebook and Amazon have already released their phones with pre-installed applications, but canceled them due to low popularity. However, the creator of the app for selfie Meitu successfully managed to come outon the market thanks to a deal with Xiaomi.

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