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Siri: Who's first to offer voice search on Chinese TikTok?

ByteDance's Douyin strikes up a conversation with Apple's digital assistant

The publisher of TikTok, China's ByteDance, has revealed it has enlisted Apple's Siri digital assistant to power its first voice search service.

The deal means Siri will be able to initiate searches on Douyin and will in fact be the first voice service allowed to do so.

ByteDance has told Chinese media that it hopes the Siri connection will make Douyin easier to use.

For Apple, the benefits of the arrangement are clear: Douyin has over half a billion monthly active users in China, but the iPhone has just 23 per cent market share in the Middle Kingdom. And even that market share was largely the result of Huawei's involuntary exit from the high-end handset business thanks to US sanctions. If letting Siri talk to Douyin makes the iPhone a little more attractive, Apple will not mind one little bit.

TikTok, in all its incarnations, was rated the single largest source of web traffic in 2021 by Cloudflare, ahead of even Google, Amazon, and Netflix. The app is so popular that Facebook last week even rated it as a threat to its advertising revenue.

Apple maintains that it offers Chinese iPhone owners splendid security, despite China's pervasive surveillance of its citizens. However, observers suspect ByteDance has stopped using Alibaba Cloud in order to satisfy governments outside China that TikTok does not expose users to Beijing's snooping.

Now Apple has stronger links to Douyin. Inside the Great Firewall. ®

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