(Yicai Global) March 5 -- Leading Chinese news aggregator Toutiao may open up its internal instant messaging system to other companies this year.
Lark is used for intra-company communication at Toutiao, but the company may roll it out to commercial clients as early as the first half, an unnamed source told Jiemian News. The company previously used DingTalk, which is made by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
Toutiao is recruiting a large number of audio and video experts for instant messaging in Beijing, where its Lark research center is based, the report added. The new hires will take charge of architectural design and servers, messaging solutions and servers.
"The Lark team has many industry-leading experts," the source said. "Including some mid-level and senior executives who once helped Tencent [Holdings Ltd.] create a similar product."
The company has accrued a host of commercial clients from advertising on its news aggregation platform. Using its messaging system to offer value-added services to these customers is a logical step forward, but the company will face stiff competition from the likes of DingTalk and Tencent's WeChat, which is popular both in and out of the workplace.
The corporate version of WeChat had 1.5 million registered enterprises as of Dec. 21, and 30 million active users. DingTalk, which began at the start of 2014, had 5 million enterprise users and 100 million active users as of January this year.