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ByteDance's new search engine for China only; no independent app plans

Technology company Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. Ltd. will not roll out its recently launched search engine beyond China, a spokesperson told S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Toutiao Search results prioritize content from ByteDance's core news app Jinri Toutiao, its local short video app Douyin and its long-form video app Xigua Video, as well as from selected third-party media outlets. The global version of Douyin is called TikTok.

The spokesperson said Bytedance has no plans to launch an independent app for the search engine like Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC and Baidu Inc. Users are able to access the search tool through ByteDance's existing Toutiao app or through a website customized for smartphones.

The search function was upgraded earlier this year while the website was made available recently.

According to media reports, it heavily filters results to remain compliant with China's strict censorship rules.

China's search engine market is dominated by Baidu, which holds a 76% share, followed by Sogou Inc., Bing and Qihoo. Google attempted to re-enter the Chinese market with a censored version of its search engine under an initiative called Project Dragonfly, starting in 2017.

However, in July a Google executive confirmed the project was terminated. The censored version reportedly banned websites that referred to topics including human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protest.