Briefing: Bytedance planning a Slack rival for international markets

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China’s Bytedance Plans Slack Rival Even As Losses Mount – The Information

What happened: Despite losing $1.2 billion in 2018 following the overseas release of its popular short video platform, TikTok, Bytedance is in the process of developing a work collaboration tool similar to Slack that it plans to launch outside of China. Its enterprise messaging app, Lark, includes a document-editing feature and third-party developer support, but Bytedance declined to comment on its future plans for the app. The company has created a Singapore-based subsidiary called Lark Technologies, which has opened an office in Silicon Valley and made hires with enterprise sales experience.

Why it’s important: Being the world’s most valuable startup is about more than bragging rights. Bytedance has already cemented itself as a dangerous competitor to China’s tech giants and is quickly building its capacity to take on America’s, too. With its primarily ad-based revenue tripling to around $7.2 billion last year, it is closing in on the likes of Facebook but first has to iron out some of the issues it has faced while building an advertising presence in the US. Last week, TikTok was fined $5.7 million for illegally collecting data from minors.