TikTok owner ByteDance wants more than just your viral short videos — it wants to help make the devices you watch them on.
The Chinese tech firm said it is developing a smartphone after striking a deal with electronics company Smartisan.
ByteDance isn’t trying to be the next big smartphone maker. A company spokeswoman said in a statement that the new device will be “a continuation of plans that were in place” before it began working with Smartisan. “The focus is on meeting the needs of Smartisan’s existing customer base,” she added.
The spokeswoman did not provide further details about the smartphone or which markets it will be sold in.
The plans come as ByteDance’s popular social media platform TikTok is reeling in impressive user growth and revenue. TikTok users spent a record $10.8 million within the app last month, with US users accounting for more than 20% of in-app purchases, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower.
ByteDance owns more than a dozen apps including news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, trending video platform Top Buzz and selfie app FaceU. The company’s reported valuation of $75 billion makes it the world’s most valuable startup.
ByteDance’s global success is based on TikTok, where users share short videos of themselves lip-syncing, cooking, dancing or just being silly. The short video app has been installed more than 1.27 billion times, according to Sensor Tower.
TikTok’s international appeal sets it apart from other Chinese social media platforms such as Tencent’s WeChat, Sina Weibo and Alibaba’s Youku, which have struggled to win over users outside of China.