ByteDance backs Chinese Wikipedia-like platform Baike in search push

Photo: REUTERS

ByteDance Inc. has invested in a prominent Chinese Wikipedia-like platform, stepping up its internet search challenge to rival Baidu Inc.

A unit of ByteDance, the world’s most valuable startup according to CB Insights, now holds 22% of the registered capital of Baike.com, according to a recent update on a Chinese government website that publishes company registration information.

Baike, which means encyclopedia in Chinese, is the country’s second largest such reference platform and was founded in 2005 by Chief Executive Officer Pan Haidong. Pan is no longer listed as a shareholder of his company, the website shows.

As China’s internet shifts from desktop to mobile, ByteDance is increasingly chipping away at advertising sales from Baidu, drawing users to its umbrella of apps from news aggregation to short video platforms. It’s also moving into Baidu’s core search engine business, launching Toutiao Search.

That already features entries from Baike.com and started out as a function within ByteDance’s popular news app of the same name. It’s being built into a Google-like service and the company has said it’s recruited from Google, Baidu and Microsoft Corp.’s Bing.

Baidu uses its own Wikipedia-like Baidu Baike, which is the market leader. Wikipedia is blocked in all languages in China.

Representatives from ByteDance and Baike.com didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Baidu had previously declined to comment on ByteDance’s search service, but referred to remarks by a company executive who said Baidu has successfully fended off new entrants in the past.

Bloomberg

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.