ByteDance says it is developing a smartphone, as the Chinese online entertainment giant and maker of TikTok continues to branch out into new sectors. The phone will use technology from one of the smaller Chinese smartphone makers, called Smartisan, Reuters reported. While ByteDance has hundreds of millions of users across its hugely popular news and video apps, moving into hardware could prove challenging.
Other Chinese internet giants have tried and failed before. Alibaba invested four years ago in Chinese smartphone maker Meizu, which is now reportedly laying off workers and closing stores as it struggles to survive. Tencent is said to be developing a gaming-centric smartphone.
ByteDance, which has rocketed to prominence on the back of its TikTok short video service, also will have to compete with powerful incumbents, including domestic manufacturers Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi, as well as foriegn firms Apple and Samsung. That raises questions about why ByteDance would move into this already crowded field.