Bytedance takes on Baidu with investment in Wikipedia-like Hudong Baike

By Tony Xu
1 min read
Shanghai, ByteDance, Douyin
Staff working at the reception desk of Bytedance’s Shanghai headquarters. (Image credit: TechNode/Emma Lee)

Bytedance has invested RMB 8.1 million in online encyclopedia Hudong Baike, sometimes known as baike.com, to enrich the content offering on its content aggregator Jinri Toutiao, which recently rolled out its standalone search site.

Why it matters: The investment in Hudong Baike, which closely resembles Baidu’s online encyclopedia Baidu Baike, could escalate the rivalry between Bytedance and Baidu as the former moves further into the internet searching landscape.

Bytedance challenges Baidu’s monopoly with in-app search engine

Details: Bytedance’s investment would give it a 22.2% stake in baike.com, making it the largest shareholder of the online encyclopedia, seconded by Hudong Baike founder Pan Haidong, who holds close to 15% of all shares.

  • Baike.com currently has around 8.6 million page views per day, according to domain analytics website Alexa.cn, lagging far behind Baidu Baike’s 130 million daily page views.
  • Bytedance reached a long-term strategic partnership with Hudong Baike in April to provide Jinri Toutiao users with its encyclopedic content.

Context: Bytedance has been laying the foundations for its search services with Jinri Toutiao since 2017, according to a report from media outlet 36Kr.

  • Baidu has been trying to rein in the development of Bytedance’s search services, filing a lawsuit in April against the company that accuses the owner of Douyin of stealing a number of search results from Baidu. Bytedance sued Baidu the same day for stealing trending videos from Douyin.
  • Founded in 2005, Hudong Baike listed on China’s New OTC Market in February 2016 but soon had to pause transactions in March 2017 due to low quality and even fake entries. The company eventually decided to delist in August 2018.