ByteDance makes plans to shut down its India edtech division: report

Logo image courtesy ByteDance Ltd

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has reportedly decided to exit the Indian edtech space by shutting down its business, which includes education learning app Snapsolve. The Chinese company reportedly informed its local employees about the decision on Monday.

According to a report by TechCrunch, the Chinese company will lay off most of the employees in the coming weeks. It had reduced its India workforce significantly after the Indian government banned the TikTok app last year.

“The decision follows weeks-long discussion in which the company also explored migrating the India team to work with the European edtech team … the edtech division employed over three dozen people in India,” company sources were quoted as saying by the publication.

SnapSolve, which competes with Doubtnut, is a doubt-solving app providing instant solutions to math, physics, chemistry, biology and science doubts, as well as NCERT book questions. The free learning app is available for both Android and iOS smartphones.

In addition to Snapsolve, ByteDance also competes in the music streaming space with its own service, called Resso, which recently became one of the top three music-streaming apps in India by racing ahead of home-grown apps like Gaana and JioSaavn.

Resso grew 599% in August from a year ago in terms of monthly active users (MAUs) in India, according to data from mobile analytics company Sensor Tower.

However, there is no clarity if the company will continue to operate Resso in India.

“But both the verticals have stayed low-key in the country and employees have been advised to not talk about the businesses publicly,” company sources told TechCrunch.

ByteDance’s marquee offering, TikTok, was banned by the Indian government along with several other apps developed by Chinese firms in 2020 due to security related concerns. The Indian authorities had alleged that these apps were engaging in activities that threatened national security and defence of the country.

The TikTok ban not only invited a slew of local players to launch their rival offerings, but also forced Facebook parent Meta to launch its offering, Instagram Reels, in India. Google also launched YouTube Shorts in India but hasn’t seen any success so far.

While TikTok remains unavailable in India, ByteDance has begun selling the AI behind the video app to domestic companies through its new division called BytePlus.

Financial Times recently reported that BytePlus was selling TikTok’s AI technology to Indian social gaming platform GamesApp. The tech is also being used by US fashion app Goat, Singapore travel site WeGo, Indonesian shopping app Chilibeli, among others.

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