ByteDance’s Office Platform to Accelerate Overseas Commercialization

Lark, a collaborative office communications platform owned by ByteDance, will speed up its overseas commercialization next year, with a global revenue target of 6 billion yuan ($942 million) in five years, LatePost reported on Wednesday.

The move follows weak growth this year of Lark’s version for the Chinese domestic market, Feishu. Feishu had previously set a goal of 10 million daily active users (DAU) in the first half of 2021, but the actual DAU was only 3 million in March and about 4.5 million in November.

In contrast, competing platforms DingTalk and WeCom, which were launched in 2014 and 2015, have accumulated more enterprises and personal users. DingTalk has over 500 million users this year and served more than 19 million organizations. WeCom has served more than 130 million people and more than 5.5 million enterprise users by the end of 2020.

As an office tool for business enterprises, Feishu was launched inside ByteDance in 2017. In April, 2019, Feishu launched a version for overseas markets, and the domestic version was officially launched five months later. At that time, its functions included instant messaging, public calendar, online documents and others.

According to a Feishu insider, DingTalk, WeCom and other office tools have occupied the vast majority of the domestic market, so Feishu entered the commercialization stage ahead of schedule, trying to transform free trial customers accumulated in the previous two years into paying users. However, the transformation will be finished by the end of the year. Now, it is necessary to speed up overseas expansion.

At present, Lark has been launched in the U.S., Singapore, India and other countries, and will be expanded to Africa. In the future, Lark will start to serve international companies with Chinese business. “Overseas companies are more willing to pay, and new companies in mature markets have needs for collaborative office,” said the source.

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Blissfully, a third-party technology service platform, investigated the usage of SaaS in thousands of overseas enterprises. They found that in 2019, enterprises with more than 1,000 employees are willing to pay $4.17 million a year for SaaS, and even enterprises with less than 100 employees are willing to pay $200,000 a year. However, domestic small and medium-sized enterprises only spend tens of thousands of yuan each year for SaaS.

The overseas market structure is also clear. According to Gartner’s data, Microsoft’s Office suite and Google’s cloud-based application G Suite occupy more than 90% of the office software market.