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Chinese social media firm ByteDance to develop smartphones

ByteDance, Smartisan Technology, Smartisan deal

ByteDance, owner of hugely popular video sharing app Tik Tok, to venture out into smartphone making, after a deal with Smartisan Technology.

ByteDance, the creator of the popular video sharing app Tik Tok has announced its decision to branch out into manufacturing of smartphones. The news comes following its deal with device maker Smartisan Technology, owned by Luo Yonghao.

A spokeswoman for ByteDance recently stated that the plans of making a smartphone had been in Smartisan’s development strategy even before it had made a deal with ByteDance. She told the media, “The product was a continuation of earlier Smartisan plans, aiming to satisfy the needs of the old Smartisan user base.”

A Chinese news outlet reported on Monday that the phone had been in development for the past seven months.  There had been an inflow of Smartisan employees to ByteDance, earlier this year.  The latest venture is being led by Wu Dezhou, a former executive at Smartisan. ByteDance also acquired a set of patent rights from Smartisan.

China has become a very competitive market for smartphone makers. This stems doubts if new creations would be able to make a mark in that market.

According to a statement from Ben Wood, technology analyst at CCS Insight, “It’s extremely difficult for new entrants to into the smartphone market profitably, particularly at a time when big brands such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei are carpet bombing consumers with millions of pounds worth of marketing. There are always niches in the smartphone market but they tend to be ‘firework products’, starting with a big bang and quickly disappearing.”

ByteDance has risen to become a key player in tech field with more than 300 million monthly users for its app Douyin, in China. Tik Tok, Douyin’s global-facing counterpart is popular in both Asia and West.

ByteDance has recently begun investing in fields other than social media. It has ventured out into AI-generated music, by hiring employees from London based startup JukeDeck.

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