Tiktok owner ByteDance is poised to release at the start of next year an education-focused artificial intelligence (AI) tutor reportedly able to provide individually-tailored learning experiences to K-12 students on a 24-hour basis, local business media LatePost informed.
Yang Luyu, the project leader and musical.ly’s co-founder, confirmed the information via a WeChat post. The move signals the company’s intentions to beef up its portfolio of educational applications.
The Beijing-based company, the most valuable unicorn globally, is working together with former tech staffers from Smartisan into this initiative. Earlier in January, ByteDance acquired some patents and hired employees from Smartisan.
ByteDance has been laying the groundwork for its expansion in China’s online education landscape, in a bid to diversify its business and unlock new monetization potential.
In May, the company officially unveiled “Dali Ketang” (later renamed as “Qingbei Wangxiao”), a K-12 online education portal, offering mathematics and Chinese English courses taught by graduates from Peking University and Tsinghua University – the top two universities in China.
Last year, the firm launched an online English-learning platform called Gogokid, challenging Tencent-and Sequoia Capital-based VIPKid, the current top player in the country’s edtech segment, with a valuation of about USD 4.5 billion. However, Gogokid reportedly had a massive layoff involving more than 70% of its employees in April to cut costs.
Despite that the market appears to be lukewarm about ByteDance’s progress in the education field, the company continues its effort backed by its technological resources to gain a foothold in this market.