×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TikTok’s Parent Company Bytedance Wants to Make Its Own Phone

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.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • NATPE 2020 Miami Fontainebleau Hotel

    NATPE 2020: Bumpy Start But Business Is Humming as Conference Begins

    MIAMI — A technology meltdown at Fontainebleau Miami Beach made for a bumpy start to getting settled at NATPE for numerous executives and producers who arrived here over the weekend. Nonetheless, the core business of the content-sales gathering was humming as numerous distributors reported new deals and renewal pacts inked over the past few days. [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

    Disney Plus Set for Earlier Launch in U.K. & Western Europe

    The Walt Disney Co. has set March 24 as the new launch date for Disney Plus in the U.K. and other key markets across Western Europe. With the roll-out previously set for March 31, the streaming service will now be available a week earlier in the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. Pricing [...]

  • Medici TV Show

    Vuulr Online Rights Market Makes Global Expansion at NATPE

    Singapore-based Vuulr, an online content marketplace for film and TV rights, is expanding from regional to global operations. The move was announced ahead of NATPE, one of the oldest face-to-face TV rights markets, this week launching its tenth edition in Miami, Florida (Jan 21-23). The Vuulr platform is free to use for buyers and for [...]

  • Loic Barche on Short 'The Atomic

    Loic Barche on Short 'The Atomic Adventure,' Upcoming Feature Debut 'Feu de Paille'

    “The Atomic Adventure,” a contender in UniFrance’s online MyFrenchFilmFestival, is the third short from Loïc Barché (“Goliath,” “Le Commencement”). Variety talked to the director about the short, and his feature debut “Feu de Paille.” “The Atomic Adventure,” produced by young French outfits Punchline Cinéma and Leonis Productions, is set in 1961 in Algeria, where France [...]

  • The Isle of the Dead

    UniFrance Puts Spotlight on Emerging French VR Sector at Rendez-Vous

    France has a burgeoning eco-system of virtual reality and augmented reality producers, and is one of Europe’s leading VR/AR hubs. The UniFrance Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris, a showcase of French projects that wraps Monday, included a VR/AR showcase, with recent projects demonstrated by Wide Management VR, VRrOOm and Atlas V. UniFrance’s online MyFrenchFilm [...]

  • Blood Oath

    MBC Studios to Launch Arabic TV Series 'Blood Oath,' Written by Britain's Tony Jordan

    MBC Studios, the Saudi-owned production unit of top Middle Eastern free-to-air satellite network MBC Group is set to launch “Blood Oath,” an Arabic crime series written by Britain’s Tony Jordan (“EastEnders,” “Life on Mars”). The announcement comes as Dubai-based MBC Studios, set up in 2018 and headed by former president of NBCUniversal International Peter Smith, is [...]

  • Spirited Away

    Netflix Secures International Rights to Studio Ghibli Animated Films

    The iconic animated features of Japan’s Studio Ghibli will be available in territories outside the U.S., Canada and Japan on Netflix starting in February. The move is a further change of position for the studio which has repeatedly resisted the idea that its beloved cartoons would be released on digital platforms. Netflix, sales agent Wild [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content