ByteDance, the company behind phenomenal short-video app TikTok and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, has started commercialising its search business earlier this year in a move that pits it against Baidu in the latter’s core business.
ByteDance put online search on its business roadmap two years ago, a source close to the short video app maker has told 36Kr, KrASIA‘s parent. The company started with offering basic search function in its Toutiao app to let users search content within the app, before later on expanding to include internet content in its search results.
ByteDance, the world’s most valuable startup, has hired Wu Kai the former head of Qihoo 360’s search unit, to spearhead its search initiative, according to two separate sources close to ByteDance and Qihoo, respectively.
With the huge user base of its popular apps, the commercialisation of ByteDance’s search engine product will likely pose a serious threat to Baidu, which dominates nearly 75% of the country’s search market share. Baidu’s core business, including search and advertising, accounts for more than 75% of the search giant’s annual revenue in 2018.
Editor: Ben Jiang