TikTok plans to ring as ByteDance enters smartphone race

TikTok plans to ring as ByteDance enters smartphone race


  • ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is throwing its gauntlet into smartphone arena.
  • Company’s phone offering plans to include pre-installed apps.
  • China to be target market for the company’s hardware offering, which means a US or India launch is unlikely.
ByteDance, the parent company of the massively popular social media app, TikTok, is looking to launch its own phone that would come with pre-installed apps.

Talking to Forbes, a ByteDance spokesperson said that the company was following up on “plans that were in place before ByteDance began working with Smartisan, the focus is on meeting the needs of Smartisan's existing customer base in China."

Following the runaway success of TikTok, ByteDance is now the world’s most valuable startup, dethroning Uber in the process. On its own, TikTok is bigger than Twitter and Snapchat with more monthly installs than Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

ByteDance acquired patents from Smartisan - a niche Chinese smartphone company - earlier this year in a deal that saw some employees also transfer to the Beijing-based ByteDance in what it called a “normal flow of talent”.


The acquired entity, Smartisan is known for its over-the-top media events where people pay to see its flamboyant CEO Luo Yonghao’s sales pitch and watch musical performances from some of China’s top music artists.

TikTok launched in China in 2016 and saw as many as 300 million monthly active users by 2018 before moving to international markets and replicating that success to the tune of more than 500 million active users worldwide.

Despite a strong user base in the US with 14.3 million unique visitors, the new smartphone will not launch in the US and will exclusively be sold in the Chinese market, which means an India launch is also unlikely.

As of now, the company will only focus on its Chinese user base for now and there are no plans to compete with the likes of Samsung or Apple.

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