TikTok parent Bytedance pushes for search engine in threat to Baidu's China monopoly


'Just Google it', the phrase we are so accustomed to using, is definitely not a thing in China, at least for a decade. In 2010, Google pulled out of the China market and left the local leader Baidu with a de facto monopoly in the internet search business. However, the Baidu's prominence may come under attack as TikTok parent ByteDance is eyeing this lucrative online business in China.
ByteDance is a Beijing startup that has a number of apps under its umbrella in China but it made its presence in overseas markets as well, thanks to its hit video app TikTok.
The company is known is for aggressively recruiting top tech talent and it is now moving into 'search business' in a threat to the advertising business that has fueled Baidu's profit.
ByteDance has already started the work on the project and the company staffers already include recruits from Baidu, Google and Microsoft Corp's Bing. In a post on the WeChat messaging service, the company wrote, 'From 0 to 1, we are building a general search engine for more ideal user experience.'
However, Bloomberg reported that ByteDance likely won't create a standalone search engine like Baidu or Google as most people in the country do not use search in this way. Instead, ByteDance's search will be embedded within its own apps, beginning with its Jinri Toutiao news service.
The search functionality in the app will allow users to quickly search for related news, information or products, and ByteDance will be able to profit from search and display advertising. It has been reported that the service will also work with Douyin, the domestic version of TikTok, as well as other popular video-streaming platforms owned by ByteDance.
The search engine business is not the only new venture ByteDance has announced to enter. Earlier, TikTok owner confirmed its plans to make a self-branded smartphonefollowing its deal with Smartisan Technology, a smartphone maker based in China.
At present, it is not clear if the device will run on Android OS or some other operating system. Also, there are no details about the specifications of the upcoming phone or what kind of features ByteDance will include.
Zhang Yiming, ByteDance's founder, is taking steps to realise his far-reaching ambition of creating a global technology giant. His startup is only seven-years-old and its valuation has surged to $75 billion, more than any startup in the world. It's now looking to expand with more apps, its own smartphone, and new ventures.

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