Chinese multinational internet technology company ByteDance launched its new Volcano Engine brand to offer the proprietary algorithm used to power its video-sharing app TikTok’s personalized recommendations to more corporate clients, as the company seeks to expand beyond consumer products.
TikTok’s algorithm is considered the ‘secret sauce’ behind its global success. It was one of the focal points when China’s ByteDance was forced into talks to sell part of the short-video app’s US operations last year following former President Donald Trump’s executive order.
China at the time had revised its export restrictions so that it would have a key role in the potential transfer of TikTok’s algorithm to foreign buyers. Last day, US President Joe Biden revoked the Trump order and issued a new review of security concerns posed by the Chinese apps.
ByteDance, in its statement, said that Volcano Engine offers enterprise clients technologies like recommendation algorithm, data analysis and artificial intelligence. It has been already operating for a year and has corporate clients including eCommerce giant JD.com, smartphone maker Vivo and automaker Geely.
The company also plans to add public cloud computing services, a sector already immensely competitive and dominated by Big Techs in China like Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei, according to a source close to the matter. ByteDance declined to comment on the cloud service plan.
ByteDance’s bulk of revenue comes from consumer-facing products such as Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, and newsgathering app Jinri Toutiao. As growth prospects for those businesses are set to weaken, ByteDance has been planning to enter into new areas such as enterprise services. The company also operates a work-collaboration tool Lark and its Chinese version Feishu.