Tiktok to quit China and ByteDance; Could become a US, UK-based firm

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Amid growing concerns against its Chinese association and emerging reports of a US ban on its product, TikTok is said to be considering a totally different organization structure that will be primarily based away from China.  

Reports suggest that TikTok has been in negotiations with the UK government over the past few months to locate its headquarters in London as part of its strategy to distance itself from its Chinese ownership. London is one of several locations the company is considering, but no decisions have been made.

It was not immediately clear which other locations are under deliberation. But the short video sharing platform has aggressively hired talent in USA’s California this year, including opting for Kevin Mayer, a former Walt Disney Co executive, to be TikTok’s chief executive. He is based in the United States.

Recently, TikTok has been facing heavy scrutiny from the US government over suspicions China could force the ByteDance owned company to turn over user data.

Reports suggest that the firm is largely focused on its issues in the United States over the last few weeks but has not ruled out London as a potential location for its new headquarters. TikTok is expected to “significantly” increase the size of its workforce in London and other key locations outside of China over the next several years.

The British newspaper, The Sunday Times has reported that Tiktok has called off its discussions with the UK government to open a global headquarters in Britain yet other reports have suggested that the viral app was still in discussions with Britain’s government.

Footnote: ByteDance Ltd. is a Chinese multinational internet technology company headquartered in Beijing. It was founded by Zhang Yiming in 2012, Is reportedly worth over US$100 billion as of May 2020 and Tiktok is one of its most popular products.