Baidu's reign as the go-to search engine in China is about to be challenged as TikTok creator ByteDance announces plans to establish its own search business. The Beijing-based startup company revealed that the move into the search business is part of its overall plan to expand beyond its typical apps and content services.
Following Google's exit in China in 2010, Baidu immediately held a de facto monopoly over the internet search business in the country.
The company held that reign for the past couple of years, reaping billions of dollars in search and advertising revenues.
Without any formidable competitor to take it on, the local market leader managed to greatly profit from the lucrative industry.
Apart from owning and operating one of the world's most popular short video-sharing platform, ByteDance also has several other platforms in China that have helped it make a name for itself.
Now the company aims to penetrate the lucrative search market as part of its global expansion plans.
According to a recent post by the company on WeChat, the new search engine it is building will apparently be offering domestic users a "more ideal" user experience compared to competitors.
The company is planning to build the new search engine from the ground up, which it plans to integrate into its existing platforms.
Unlike Google or Baidu, ByteDance's search engine will likely not be a stand-alone platform where users can input their preferred keywords to look for content.
Instead, the company's search engine will likely be embedded into its own apps, where users can conveniently search for information, products, and related news without ever leaving the platform.
One of the first platforms that will likely showcase the new feature will be ByteDance's Jinri Toutiao content platform. The search engine is also expected to become available on the company's TikTok platform in the near future. ByteDance will be able to profit from the addition of the search engine by displaying advertisements along with the search results.
ByteDance is well known for its aggressive recruitment of top tech talents from other companies. The company is apparently applying the same strategy for its planned search engine project. ByteDance reportedly already recruited a number of new employees, most of whom were former employees from Google, Baidu, and Microsoft's Bing search engine.
Apart from creating its own search engine, ByteDance recently revealed plans of developing its own smartphone. The company had partnered with domestic smartphone manufacturer Smartisan Technology to help it develop and build the new product. According to sources close to the matter, both ByteDance and Smartisan have been working on the new smartphone for close to seven months already.