ByteDance, a Beijing-based internet technology company that is aggressively building a search engine to potentially rival Baidu, has struck back against the lawsuit brought against the TikTok parent company.
Baidu claims that ByteDance, founded in March 2012 by Zhang Yiming, manipulated results in the search engine by directing searchers away from similar products and offerings. Bytedance’s search arm, Toutiao Search, said the company is simply working to better protect brands on its platform.
Baidu accused Toutiao of ranking its own products above Baidu’s -- even if users specifically search for a Baidu product, according to a notice published in Chinese on the Haidian court website.
ByteDance launched Toutiao in August. It began as an in-app search tool. A company spokesperson told Search Marketing Daily that the company built the search engine for Toutiao, its news and information content platform, but has no plans to release a stand-alone search app.
ByteDance is best known for its mobile apps and competes with tech giants such as Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent.
The suit, filed in the capital’s Haidian District on the grounds of unfair competition, demands that ByteDance immediately stop using the technique and compensate for economic losses, with a reasonable expenditure of 1 million yuan. It also asks the company to publish a statement
In the suit, Baidu Online and Baidu Wangxun claimed that Baidu Video and Good-looking Video, two video aggregation platforms operated by Baidu, rely on Baidu's core technology in video search, recommendation, and Big Data.
Baidu Online and Baidu Wangxun claim the headlines used to describe the video products were used to trigger search ads in headline search and interfere with search results -- an improper use to gain a competitive advantage.