Chinese technology group ByteDance sells some of its artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to websites and apps outside of China. This technology is used in the popular video app TikTok, among other things. ByteDance is looking for new ways to generate revenue ahead of its long-awaited IPO.
ByteDance and TikTok are not without controversy. For example, there are concerns about handling privacy sensitive data, especially for young users of apps. Under former US President Donald Trump, the US threatened to ban TikTok, but judges backed down. The Trump administration has claimed that the highly personal data of Americans could end up with the Chinese government through ByteDance. Incumbent President Joe Biden has canceled a series of actions targeting TikTok.
ByteDance silently launched a new division called BytePlus last month. This part provides companies the opportunity to partially use the TikTok algorithm. The video app uses this algorithm to keep users on the move by recommending videos that the system thinks they will like. BytePlus customers can use this technology to customize their apps and services for their users.
Other software on offer are automatic text and speech translation, real-time video effects, and various data analysis and management tools. The so-called computer vision technology can also detect and track eighteen points around the body, from head to toe, while users dance or point in front of the camera. According to BytePlus, this technology can be used for applications in cosmetology or fashion.
BytePlus already has customers all over the world, including in the United States. According to British business newspaper, Financial Times, it is about American fashion app Goat, Webo travel booking site from Singapore and Chilibeli, an Indonesian online shopping startup. TikTok is also counted among customers.
The new division is said to have hired employees from major technology companies such as Microsoft and IBM. BytePlus tools seem to be competing with AI services from Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft. But BytePlus also competes with Chinese tech companies such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. ByteDance declined to comment on its plans with BytePlus to the Financial Times.
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