ByteDance, the Chinese social media company behind the popular app TikTok, said on Monday it is developing a smartphone, following a deal it made with device maker Smartisan Technology.
The plans come as the tech firm expands into new sectors beyond video and news apps.
In a statement, a ByteDance spokeswoman said a smartphone had been part of Smartisan’s development plans before the deal it made with ByteDance.
Monday a sub-division of Chinese financial news outlet Caijing reported that
the phone had been in development for seven months. The effort is being led by
Wu Dezhou, a former executive at Smartisan, the outlet added.
Earlier this year ByteDance acquired a set of patents from Smartisan. Some Smartisan employees also transferred to ByteDance, as part of what the latter company called a “normal flow of talent.”
Smartisan is a niche player in China’s smartphone sector and is best known for its flamboyant founder Luo Yonghao.
Douyin, the company’s app for streaming short videos, has more than 300 million monthly users in China, ByteDance marketing manager Zhi Ying said in June. TikTok, Douyin’s global-facing counterpart, has also grown popular in North America.
ByteDance has recently begun investing in sectors not directly related to social media. The company has hired several staff from London-based startup JukeDeck, which specializes in AI-generated music, Reuters reported in July.