ByteDance, the Chinese startup which owns TikTok, unveiled its first consumer gadget on Thursday, which surprisingly, is a $100 smart lamp for kids which has nothing to do with silly dances. It will come with a touchscreen display, camera and a built-in voice assistant. The product is going to be sold under a new brand called Dali (Chinese) which translates to “big force” in English.
The Dali smart lamp’s built-in assistant can tutor children on their homework, while parents can monitor their children remotely through an app which uses the lamp’s camera. Dali is going to be the brand name, which is going to offer a range of educational software and hardware products. ByteDance’s education technology brand currently has several different e-learning apps available in China, and offer services like one-on-one English lessons and Math lessons.
ByteDance was founded by Zhang Yiming and is the world’s largest startup valued at $140 billion. The company is making strides to establish itself in the online education market in China, and it has so far done so through software solutions. This is its first attempt at building a hardware product.
Dali currently has over 10,000 employees which also includes tutors. The company appears to be planning to create an ecosystem of online education apps and devices. The online education market has seen a tremendous growth during the pandemic, as schools and colleges were shut down and the classes were forced to be conducted online. ByteDance’s senior vice president Chen Lin is in-charge of the edutech wing of the company. It currently rivals online education companies in China like TAL Education Group, Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed VIPKid.
ByteDance originally acquired the Musical.ly and turned it into TikTok, which has been its biggest success worldwide. But it has been banned in India over privacy and national security concerns. It is facing difficulties in U.S too, as Trump administration has issued orders to ban the app in the country, which is currently on hold and awaiting legal proceedings. The Chinese company is now looking to invest in different sectors to sustain itself, and the world of online education is one of them.