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Chinese startup ByteDance, which owns the popular short-form video app TikTok, clarified that its smartphone will not be launching in the US, Forbesreports. According to a ByteDance spokesperson, reports from earlier this weekthat the company was planning to produce a smartphone through a deal with device maker Smartisan were misunderstood.
Earlier this year, ByteDance acquired a number of Smartisan’s patents and brought over some of its employees to produce the phone. “Reports of our smartphone development strictly refer to a continuation of plans that were in place before ByteDance began working with Smartisan. The focus is on meeting the needs of Smartisan’s existing customer base in China,” ByteDance told Forbes. Gizmodo also reports that the phone “has no connection with TikTok,” so imaginings of what a TikTok phone would look like can be put to rest.
Valued at $75 billion, ByteDance is the most valuable startup in the world. In addition to TikTok, which has been operating as Douyin for the past few years in China, ByteDance also owns Chinese news aggregator Toutiao. The company is currently developing a music streaming service, and it just released a messaging app called Flipchat, which is currently only available in China. Buying assets from Smartisan won’t suddenly make ByteDance a manufacturer at the scale of a Huawei or Xiaomi, but it’ll be interesting to see how the phone does in China given how quickly ByteDance’s brand has grown.