Company behind viral video app TikTok is planning to launch its own smartphone, report claims

  • ByteDance, owners of Tik Tok, are building their own smartphone says a report 
  • The phone will reportedly be pre-loaded with apps owned by ByteDance
  • Among those apps could be its unreleased music-streaming service 

The parent company behind viral video app TikTok may be building its own smartphone, says a new report. 

According to two anonymous sources quoted by the Financial Times, ByteDance, the company behind the video-sharing platform Tik Tok, is building a smartphone that would come pre-loaded with the company’s many apps.

Among them, says the Financial TImes, could be Tik Tok, ByteDance’s news aggregation app Toutiao, and an unreleased music-streaming service which will look to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.   

The parent company of viral video app TikTok could be preparing to release its own smartphone according to a report from the Financial Times

The parent company of viral video app TikTok could be preparing to release its own smartphone according to a report from the Financial Times

Earlier this month, ByteDance launched a new chat app called Feiliao, or Flipchat, that lets users communicate via instant messaging and groups catered around their interests. 

ByteDance in January also launched Duoshan, a video chatting app that closely mirrors Snapchat.      

According to an earlier report by Bloomberg, the unnamed music-streaming service, which isn’t expected to be named after TikTok, will first launch in emerging markets like India.

ByteDance also struck a deal with the smartphone company, Smartisan, earlier this year for certain patents that would help the company ‘explore the world of education’ — a move that may also strategically position the company into a potential expansion toward phones.

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The report by the Financial Times offers no details on when the phone could be unveiled or what it would look like and noted that other smartphones with pre-loaded apps from the likes of Facebook and Amazon have failed in the past.

TikTok, also known as Douyin in China, has become one of the fastest-growing apps among teen users over the past few years and now counts more than 500 million downloads. 

The app has also had real impacts on cultural trends. For example, ‘Old Town Road,’ currently the number one song in the world, picked up steam on TikTok.

With its streaming service, ByteDance will try to capitalize on TikTok’s rapid popularity by converting some of its users into paying customers, according to a report from Bloomberg earlier this month.  

Offering the app as a paid service is likely to be more appealing to labels, as they’ll get a higher rate of royalties compared to free services. 

The TikTok parent has reportedly already secured music rights from T-Series and Times Music, which are two major labels in India.  

TikTok has also had real impacts on cultural trends in the years since its launch. For example, 'Old Town Road,' currently the number one song in the world, picked up steam on TikTok

TikTok has also had real impacts on cultural trends in the years since its launch. For example, ‘Old Town Road,’ currently the number one song in the world, picked up steam on TikTok

TikTok has amassed a sizable user base in India, where it now counts 300 million monthly users.  

However, it has yet to secure rights from major labels like Universal, Warner and Sony. 

Doing so will be vital for ByteDance’s music streaming service to expand to North America, Europe or Latin America, Bloomberg noted.  

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WHAT IS TIKTOK? 

TikTok is known in China as Douyin where it was launched in 2016

TikTok is known in China as Douyin where it was launched in 2016

Tik Tok is a Chinese social media app where users can live stream, create short videos and music videos and Gifs with a host of functions. 

Tik Tok’s tagline is ‘Make every second count’.

It was the most downloaded app in the US in 2018 and the world’s fourth most downloaded app in 2018, ahead of Instagram and Snapchat.

TikTok is known in China as Douyin where it was launched in 2016 and then made more widely available around the world in 2017.  

Douyin is still the version of the app used in China, available to download separately to TikTok.

Last year, the app was merged with popular music video lip-syncing app Musical.ly, also with headquarters in China. 

Most children use the app to film themselves lip-syncing to chart hits. 

It offers users a raft if colourful modification and editing tools including overlaying music, sound, animated stickers, filters and augmented reality (AR) for creating short videos. 

The Beijing based social network has more than 500 million active users and the company is now worth more than $75 billion (£58 billion). 



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