Bytedance is preparing a major update of its enterprise messaging app Lark as soon as this month, bringing the app closer to Google’s office collaboration kit known as G Suite, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: The TikTok owner is actively exploring new sources of revenue beyond short video and news aggregator platforms, and enterprise services is playing an increasingly important role for the company’s future plans.

  • The global collaboration software market earned $11.4 billion in revenue in 2019 and is expected to grow to $13.6 billion by 2023, according to data platform Statista.
  • The international collaboration app market is currently dominated by companies like Microsoft, Google, and Slack. In China, the biggest players are Alibaba, which operates Dingtalk, and Tencent, the owner of WeChat Work.

Details: Bytedance will update Lark, known in China as Feishu, to focus on cloud-based file management as well as document and spreadsheet editing. The rollout will begin in China as soon as this month, according to Bloomberg citing people familiar with the matter.

  • Currently, the Lark app provides functions such as messaging, file storage, and video-chatting—features that bear more resemblance to Slack.

Context: Beijing-based Bytedance in April launched Lark in overseas markets. It was reported that it planned to expand the size of the Lark team to 1,000 by the end of 2019.

  • The remote-work app gained traction in the Chinese market amid the Covid-19 outbreak when Chinese companies encouraged employees to work from home. The app enjoyed a daily peak of more than 22,000 downloads on Apple’s App Store in China in February, according to the report citing data from Sensor Tower.
  • Earlier this month, China’s most popular messaging app, Tencent’s WeChat, began blocking links to Feishu inside the app. Users have to manually copy and paste Feishu links into browsers to access them.

Wei Sheng

Wei Sheng is a Beijing-based reporter covering hardware, smartphone, and telecommunications, along with regulations and policies related to the China tech scene. Before joining TechNode, he wrote about...

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