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China tech

TikTok parent ByteDance to launch smartphone as app family grows

Move brings risk but also chance to direct traffic to its own software

NEW YORK -- ByteDance, the world's most valuable startup and the Chinese company behind viral video app TikTok, is going into hardware.

The SoftBank Group-backed company this week confirmed it is developing a smartphone, months after saying it acquired certain patents from Smartisan, a Chinese handset startup that also has developed its own operating system. A ByteDance spokesperson said the new smartphone is a "continuation of plans that were in place" at Smartisan before the deal.

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