Bytedance has revamped a 15-year-old online encyclopedia site under its own brand, expanding the functionalities of its new search engine as it pushes further into the search market.
Why it matters: Bytedance’s launch of its own answer to Baidu’s online encyclopedia, Baidu Baike, escalates the rivalry between the rising star and the established search engine giant.
- Baidu Baike and Hudong Baike, or Baike.com, are the two most popular online encyclopedia services in China. Baidu’s offering attracts around 130 million page views per day, and the smaller Baike.com notches around 8.6 million daily page views, according to domain analytics website Alexa.cn.
Details: Bytedance has rebranded Baike.com into a site named Toutiao Baike, the online encyclopedia arm of Toutiao Search, the search engine it rolled out in August.
- Toutiao Baike shows on Baike.com’s mobile version, but the desktop version remains the Hudong Baike interface.
- Toutiao Search is a mobile search engine that used to serve as the in-app search function of Bytedance’s news aggregator Jinri Toutiao.
Context: Founded in 2005, Hudong Baike is a for-profit online encyclopedia that focuses on Chinese content.
- The company was listed on China’s National Equities Exchange and Quotations OTC market in February 2016 but soon had to pause transactions in March 2017 due to low quality and even fake entries. The company eventually decided to delist in August 2018.
- The company submitted a complaint to China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce against Baidu in 2011, accusing it of manipulating search results and hiding entries on Baike.com.
- Bytedance owns 22.2% of Baike.com after an RMB 8.1 million (around $1.1 million) investment into the company in August. The company launched Toutiao Search in the same month.
- All non-Chinese versions of Wikipedia have been blocked in China since April 2019, and the Chinese language edition has been blocked since 2016.