TikTok owner ByteDance plans to accelerate the overseas commercialization of its workplace communication app Lark in the coming year, Chinese local media outlet LatePost reported Wednesday. The company aims to achieve a global revenue of RMB 6 billion ($940 million) in the next five years.

Why it matters: Lark, known as Feishu in the Chinese market, is ByteDance’s bet on the enterprise-facing services sector, which has been boosted as remote work apps gain traction globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • ByteDance, long celebrated as an “app factory”, listed Lark as one of its six business units, or strategic focuses, in a November reshuffle.
  • Chinese tech peers Alibaba and Tencent currently lead the country’s workplace app market with DingTalk and WeCom.

Detail: ByteDance plans to seek new growth points for the business in the overseas market as Feishu, Lark’s Chinese sister app, faces growth bottlenecks in the domestic market, according to the report.

  • The app already operates in countries such as the US, Singapore and India, and plans further expansion in African countries, starting with global companies with China operations.
  • Feishu recorded 4.5 million daily active users in November, up from 3 million in March. But the figure still fell far short of its goal of reaching 10 million daily active users in the first half of this year, LatePost reported.
  • In comparison, Alibaba-backed DingTalk said (in Chinese) in October that it has 500 million individual users and 19 million enterprise clients. Tencent’s WeCom had more than 130 million daily active users and 5.5 million enterprise clients by the end of 2020.
  • The company didn’t respond to TechNode’s inquiries when contacted Thursday morning.

Context: ByteDance first developed Feishu as an internal tool in 2016, began marketing the platform as a business in 2019, and launched the international version Lark in April 2019.

  • ByteDance has built a whole line of enterprise collaboration apps including video conferencing app Feishu Meeting and Feishu Jisuban, a lightweight version of the original app.
  • Despite Lark’s new international focus, capturing a share of the overseas market is likely to be challenging, with incumbents such as Slack and G Suite currently dominating.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.