Chinese internet giant ByteDance has filed a series of trademarks hinting at a foray into the fintech sector.
The most valuable startup in the world, which runs content aggregator Jinri Toutiao and short video platform Douyin (known as TikTok internationally), filed for three trademarks on December 6. News of the filing was only picked up by media this week.
Included is BytePay (our translation, 字节付), classified as relating to insurance and other financial products.
The company also applied for the trademarks of two loan products, namely Qingli Installment and Wuxian Installment, falling into the same trademark category as BytePay.
The company declined to comment when contacted by TechNode.
Speculation around ByteDance’s entry into the financial services market has circulated since 2017 when the company was reportedly applying for relevant licenses. ByteDance denied the claims.
In July, Jinri Toutiao launched a fintech product named Safe Lending. Up to 20,000 users were permitted to borrow up to RMB200,000 (around US$30,000) per person per day. The company claimed the Bank of Nanjing was one of its loan partners.
The product became the subject of investigations by the media in September. ByteDance later shuttered the online money lending service, while thousands of Chinese P2P lending companies shut down in the second half of the year.
Thanks to the success of its short video and content aggregation platforms, Bytedance has become one of the fastest growing startups in China. The company’s valuation skyrocketed to US$75 billion following a round of financing earlier this year.
ByteDance has sought to raise an additional US$1.45 billion for its first venture fund. The company reportedly plans to invest in AI and media content.