ByteDance, the company behind the hugely popular TikTok app, is working on its own phone. A ByteDance representative confirmed the company’s plans for a mobile phone in a conversation with Reuters, explaining that ByteDance got its hands on the talent required to build the device through a deal with Smartisan, a Chinese consumer electronics upstart.
ByteDance is best known for TikTok in the U.S., but the company is also operating a number of other apps and services in China. These include social news app Toutiao and short-form video service Xigua Video.
The company struck a deal with Smartisan earlier this year that included the transfer of some technology patents as well as staff. ByteDance’s mobile phone efforts are now being led by Wu Dezhou, a former Smartisan executive, according to Reuters.
ByteDance’s plan to branch out into smart phones isn’t uncommon for China, where a number of online platforms now sell their own mobile devices. However, it’s unlikely that we are going to see a TikTok phone in the U.S. any time soon. Chinese companies have had a hard time breaking into North America.
Chinese upstart LeEco failed miserably, and lost huge amounts of money on an overly ambitious U.S. expansion. Local giant Xiaomi has been circling the wagons for years, but has yet to make a move. Huawei even struck deals with local carriers, only to find itself the target of the Trump administration, which effectively killed its partnerships.