Chinese internet giant ByteDance, best known for its viral short video app TikTok, has recently filed new trademark applications in some unlikely categories: food and catering.
The company has applied to trademark the terms “ByteCoffee” and “Shafa Yinyuehui” (meaning “sofa concerts” in Chinese), according to records from the trademark office of China’s National Intellectual Property Administration.
The applications are still being processed, so details are unavailable, but the ByteCoffee trademark application falls under the category of food, while Shafa Yinyuehui has been filed under several categories including for computer software and catering services.
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A ByteDance spokeswoman said the ByteCoffee trademark “is for an internal cafe that serves its staff” while Shafa Yinyuehui is a live-streamed activity on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.
As ByteDance faces challenges internationally, it has been turning more of its attention back to expanding in its home market. Its flagship international product, TikTok, was banned in India – previously the short video app’s No. 1 market – earlier this year, and it is also fighting a ban in the US while pending approval from both the Trump administration and Beijing for a deal with Oracle and Walmart over its US operations.
But Douyin has been doing better than ever, growing its number of daily active users 50 per cent from 400 million in January to 600 million in June.
In February, when countrywide lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic forced millions to stay home and boosted online activity, Douyin launched a concert activity inviting celebrities and independent artists to live-stream themselves performing on the app with the hashtag #DouLiveSofaConcerts. The ongoing challenge, which appears to be the origin of the “sofa concerts” term, has accumulated more than 490 million views.
ByteCoffee, meanwhile, is the name of ByteDance’s internal coffee stand at its Beijing headquarters. The company previously registered trademarks for the name under the beverage and lodging service categories, both of which are valid for 10 years from May 2020, according to the trademark office’s records. It is unclear whether it intends to expand the business beyond its headquarters.
China is one of the largest growing markets for the coffee shop industry. There were about 126,000 on-premise coffee outlets in the country as of last year, and this is expected to grow at an annual rate of 11.9 per cent from 2019 to 2024, according to consumer research company Mintel.
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This article TikTok-owner ByteDance’s latest trademark applications include ‘ByteCoffee’, ‘sofa concert’ first appeared on South China Morning Post