TikTok’s AI is no longer a secret — in fact, it’s now on the open market. The Financial Times has learned that parent company ByteDance quietly launched a BytePlus division that sells TikTok technology, including the recommendation algorithm. Customers can also buy computer vision tech, real-time effects and automated translations, among other features.
BytePlus debuted in June and is based in Singapore, although it has presences in Hong Kong and London. The company is looking to register trademarks in the US, although it’s not certain if the firm has an American presence at this stage.
There are already at least a few customers. The American fashion app Goat is already using BytePlus code, as are the Indonesian online shopping company Chilibeli and the travel site WeGo.
ByteDance wouldn’t comment on its plans for BytePlus.
A move like this wouldn’t be surprising, even if it might remove some of TikTok’s cachet. It could help ByteDance compete with Amazon, Microsoft and other companies selling behind-the-scenes tools to businesses. It might also serve as a hedge. TikTok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin might be close to plateauing, and selling their tech could keep the money flowing.