Bengaluru: ByteDance, the parent company of Chinese app TikTok, now banned in India, is likely to shift shop from Beijing to Mumbai in an attempt to retain its large customer base in the country currently engaged in a border dispute with China.
According to sources, ByteDance plans to accommodate nearly 1,250 employees at WeWork Nesco IT Park spanning eight floors covering an area of 2. 28 lakhs square feet with a seating capacity for 3,400 employees. ByteDance has leased the property for two years.
The move is seen as significant after the Government of India banned usage of 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, as it felt they were a threat to the nation’s security, sovereignty and integrity.
Following the ban in India, TikTok is now facing severe backlash across the West as well, at a time Beijing is simultaneously engaged in a battle against pro-autonomy people in the former British Colony of Hong Kong.
A notice posted on the company’s website read: “We regret to tell you that we’ve discontinued operating TikTok in Hong Kong.” TikTok may return to Hong Kong donning a new avatar under a replacement business structure.
After Beijing imposed the new national security law in June, TikTok ceased its daily operation in Hong Kong as well, joining a list of countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh which have also banned the usage of the app.
The Indonesian government, while banning the app, stated that it promoted pornography, inappropriate content, and blasphemy.
Several other social media platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, are also reviewing operations and policies in Hong Kong and either contemplating moving out of it or making changes to their existing rules as mandated by China’s new security law.
After India banning 59 Chinese apps, the USA is also contemplating to ban TikTok as it found both Huawei Technology Company and Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipments, popularly referred to as ZTE, have an overbearing influence on the Communist Party of China and that the law obligated them to cooperate with China’s intelligence services, posing a significant threat to American security.
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted that the US is planning to ban the Chinese-made media app alongside few others. President Donald Trump and Pompeo continued to attack the Communist nation during the outbreak of the coronavirus, straining their bilateral relations. Beijing is now increasingly viewed as a threat across the world with many countries feeling an overbearing Chinese influence and aggressive behaviour.
ZTE and Huawei are facing stiff resistance in India as well as the Government has stalled their plans to auction 5G spectrum. Similar steps have been taken by Britain and being contemplated by other nations.
Both the Chinese companies neither have an option of local data storage nor willing to relocate their remote servers to India. Hence a definite road map seems a distant possibility.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to curb the involvement of the Chinese technology giant in the development of Britain’s 5G network as London suspects it of possible involvement in data-theft and espionage.