Saturday , May 27 2023

The owner of TikTok launches his search engine


ByteDance, the world's most highly regarded startup, continues its diversification and is marching on the borders of its main competitor and compatriot, the Chinese Baidu.

ByteDance looks more and more like an internet giant. The group recently launched its search engine, Toutiao Search, in China. Developed by former Google, Binge and Baidu engineers, it looks like the Chrome browser. Chinese censorship of information censorship was also considered. The Bloomberg website had access to it and could see it wanting to find out about current events in Hong Kong. The search results include only articles written by media supported by the Chinese government.

But it is especially on the market side of search engines that this launch is interesting. In the short term, it risks weakening the quasi-monopoly position that the other giant industry in China, Baidu, has managed to occupy. Since 2010 and Google's removal from the country, it is the only major search engine used in the Middle Kingdom. 76% of Chinese online queries are on Baidu. For ByteDance, the context is ideal as it will be the only big player pitching against Baidu. Summoned over several months, Google's return to China through its Dragonfly search engine project has been challenged by company employees and has not yet been launched.

ByteDance is counting on this new project to highlight many of the other services it offers in China, such as its news aggregator Toutiao News, which works on the same principle as Google News. Widely used in the country, it is already installed on over 240 million active smartphones according to the firm iResearch. This figure should increase thanks to Toutiao Search.

An entire ecosystem in development

Created in 2012, ByteDance has become, in less than ten years, one of the largest players on the Chinese internet. After $ 4 billion in revenue, it now competes directly with large groups such as Alibaba or Tencent. It has to be said that the most appreciated start-up in the world, up to $ 75 billion, is still diversifying. In China, in addition to Toutiao, she also offers her own video platform similar to YouTube: Xigua Video. In late 2017, the company even purchased News Republic, an international aggregator of content available in 43 languages ​​in 47 countries. Finally it's obvious TikTok, this mobile music app has been downloaded over a billion times in the world. Thanks to TikTok and its 500 million active users each month, ByteDance is one of the few Chinese digital companies to win in the West.

In parallel, the company is developing its own music streaming service to compete with Spotify and Apple Music in emerging countries where they are not yet very present. Scheduled for fall, it should be distributed primarily in India, where ByteDance has already negotiated licensing agreements with T-series and Times Music, two of the largest local labels.

Toutiao Search will ultimately benefit from the upcoming commercialization of the ByteDance smartphone group currently in preparation. First, the device will only be destined for the Chinese market before it can cross the borders … like TikTok.

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