Chinese tech unicorn ByteDance has acquired no-code startup Hipa Cloud, a company that focuses on customized enterprise management systems, Chinese media outlet 36Kr reported on Monday. The acquisition appears to boost ByteDance’s enterprise software as a service business and transform the competitiveness of Feishu, its Slack-like messaging tool for businesses, in a sector currently dominated in China by Alibaba’s DingTalk.

Why it matters: ByteDance’s short video app Douyin (TikTok for the overseas market) has given the company huge success with its customer-facing business. Yet Feishu (Lark for the overseas market) has thus far failed to replicate that success in the enterprise-facing services sector. The acquisition of Hipa seems to be an attempt to change that. 

  • The demand for customized team management and messaging tool systems for businesses has seen significant upswing since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Software development without coding has also become a major focus for the industry in recent years, with Microsoft, Google, and Github announcing no-code software development projects.

Details: Founded in 2019, Hipa Cloud focuses on no-code development platforms for enterprise clients, assisting them in developing customized management systems.

  • Hipa Cloud announced on March 20 that it would be halting its services on May 31 following the ByteDance deal, urging users to export and migrate their data to other platforms, such as Feishu and Mingdao, ahead of the deadline.
  • Hipa founder Chen Jinzhou and part of his team will be incorporated into ByteDance’s Feishu unit after the acquisition. Chen will report directly to ByteDance’s vice president Xie Xin who is in charge of Feishu, 36Kr reported.

Context: ByteDance first developed the Slack-like Feishu as an internal team collaborative management tool in 2016, launching it as a business in 2019.

(Image credit: TechNode/Ward Zhou)
  • Rivals Alibaba and Tencent launched DingTalk and WeChat Work in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Huawei also released their own teamwork platform WeLink in 2017.
  • DingTalk leads the market in China with 200,863 average daily downloads, while WeChat Work has 92,358 downloads per day. Feishu’s average daily downloads currently number just 19,795, according to Qimai Data.

Ward Zhou is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. He covers stories about industry of digital content, hardware, and anything geek. Reach him via ward.zhou[a] or Twitter @zhounanyu.