The standout Chinese startup ByteDance Ltd., which is best known for owning the hit video app TikTok, has begun hiring employees for a possible push into semiconductors, exploring an expansion well beyond TikTok.
Headquartered in Beijing and legally domiciled in the Cayman Islands, ByteDance has posted at least a dozen job openings related to semiconductors in two of the most populous cities, Shanghai and Beijing. The job postings include hardware and software engineers. According to LiveMint, a company spokesperson confirmed that they are hiring talent as it explores initiatives in the field, including building server chips based on Arm Ltd. designs.
ByteDance, founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012, has become the most valuable startup in the world in a very short time on the back of the impressive success seen by TikTok and its domestic clone, Douyin. The company was last valued at about $180 billion. ByteDance is said to be exploring an initial public offering for some of its businesses in Hong Kong, including Douyin.
By making his way into the semiconductor industry, Zhang delves into a business that has become a top priority for China’s Communist Party. This month, during the National People’s Congress, the government, to vie with the U.S. for global influence, pledged to boost spending and drive research into Artificial Intelligence and cutting-edge chips.
Baidu Inc., the specialized internet-related service provider in China and a ByteDance rival, recently raised $230 million for its AI chip division ahead of a potential spin-off of the business.
Tech giants such as Google, Amazon.com Inc., and Apple Inc. have all worked to custom design chips as they expand into new fields. Among the key advantages of crafting application-specific hardware is an increase in efficiency and security.
ByteDance’s foray could help it produce chips that pinpoint the needs of its stable of social apps.