ByteDance, the company behind the world’s most popular short video app TikTok, is taking initial steps to enter China’s cloud computing sector as it has launched its enterprise-facing cloud service platform Huoshan Yinqing, 36Kr reported on Friday.
The company had been testing Huoshan Yinqing, which translates to “volcano engine” in English since February, when the service was called Zijie Yun and operated by Feishu, ByteDance’s work collaboration tool, according to 36Kr, adding that ByteDance set up a company called Beijing Huoshan Yinqing Technology Company Limited on May 11, which will operate the platform.
Huoshan offers a variety of services which let companies livestream, hold video conferences, manage and distribute photos and videos on a cloud-based platform.
However, when contacted by KrASIA on Friday, the company denied entering the cloud computing industry.
“ByteDance does not have public cloud products and do not have a plan to do public cloud business for the time being,” a spokesperson said.
The statement is reminiscent of when ByteDance launched its early-stage search engine business in August 2019, with an emphasis on keeping a low profile. When the company introduced a mobile search portal called Toutiao Search, a spokesperson told KrASIA that the company had “no plans to release a standalone search engine app.” However, half a year later, the eponymous standalone search engine came out.
ByteDance’s entry comes at a time when demand for cloud service is increasing as the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted more business online. Additionally the company, which is the most valuable startup in the world with a valuation of USD 75 billion, has wide connections with a wide range of firms in sectors including content, entertainment and education that are prime targets as customers of enterprise cloud services.
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However, ByteDance is late comer in the sector, which has large players such as cloud computing arms of Alibaba (NYSE: BABA)and Tencent (HKG: 0700).
Alibaba, which is China’s top leader in cloud services with a 46.4% market share, just announced a USD 28 billion investment over three years in its cloud infrastructure in April.
Tencent Cloud took a stake of 18 % while Baidu Cloud grabbed a 8.8% share in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to a Canalys Report.
36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company