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TikTok Phone? Expect Huawei, Xiaomi, OnePlus And Others to be Ready For ByteDance's First Phone

This will not be the first time when a tech company, primary focusing on software and apps, has also forayed into the smartphone business.

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:May 28, 2019, 10:25 AM IST
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TikTok Phone? Expect Huawei, Xiaomi, OnePlus And Others to be Ready For ByteDance's First Phone
This will not be the first time when a tech company, primary focusing on software and apps, has also forayed into the smartphone business.
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ByteDance, the Chinese company behind the incredibly popular TikTok app, is considering building smartphones too. And that additional competition could be bad news for smartphone makers such as Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo and Realme, to name a few, who are already fighting a tough battle in the affordable and mid-range smartphone segments. The Financial Times reports, according to unnamed sources, that the Beijing based ByteDance wants to make a smartphone with the idea of preloading all of the company’s apps on it. There is also the rumor that ByteDance wants to launch a music streaming service to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.

This ties in with the announcement earlier this year, which confirmed ByteDance had acquired phone maker Smartisan, along with its patents and absorbed some of its employees too. There are no details on what this rumoured smartphone would be like, and what price point would ByteDance want to compete at. An unnamed source told the Financial Times that Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming “has long dreamt of a phone with Bytedance apps pre-installed.”

This will not be the first time when a tech company, primary focusing on software and apps, has also forayed into the smartphone business. Amazon, for instance, also launched smartphones with the idea of pushing their apps as preloaded options on these phones. But these apps can be downloaded on other smartphones as well—and Amazon eventually went easy on the smartphone push. That could be a challenge for ByteDance as well.

What ByteDance will eventually need are new revenue sources, in the near future. Ad spending has slowed in China, which is perhaps the reason why the company did not reach its revenue target last year. This is even though the popularity of the TikTok app has spiked globally, and it continues to top the app download charts regularly.

In March, WeChat owner Tencent tied up with gaming company Razer to work together on certain new features for the Razer gaming phones.

It will not be a smooth road for ByteDance. Chinese phone makers, including Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo and Realme will provide tough competition in the affordable Android smartphone space, to name a few. And if ByteDance wants to play in the flagship smartphone space, it will have to contend with the established players including the likes of Samsung and Huawei.

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