Rivalry with Baidu Escalates as ByteDance Launches Beta Version of Its Wikipedia-like Search Site

ByteDance, Tik Tok’s operator, officially released the beta version of a 15-year-old online search website Baike.com under its own brand on April 30, ramping up efforts to challenge search engine giant Baidu’s position in the free encyclopedia area.

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ByteDance’s latest move comes after a nearly 1-year-long plan to gain a competitive edge in the search business after it bought a 22.2% stake in online encyclopedia Baike.com, becoming the largest shareholder in August 2019.

As of early 2020, Baike.com had over 18 million items with categories including science, history and entertainment. Users can currently access the service via its official website or directly through Toutiao, another of ByteDance’s core products.

Baike.com said that it aims to provide users with accurate, comprehensive and legible information, and also allows users to create, edit, and revise items to share their professional knowledge.

ByteDance-backed Baike.com has long been locked in a feud with Baidu Baike.

Baike.com submitted an application to China’s market regulator to request an anti-monopoly probe against Baidu in 2011 and Baidu sued Baike.com’s founder for defamation months later.

While Baidu faces mounting accusations of false information online, it remains the biggest search engine in China. By officially testing the revamped encyclopedia provider, ByteDance is pushing further into the search market to vie for users with Baidu.