The popular short video-making application, TikTok, is in talks with the UK government to build its headquarters in London. However, the talks have been suspended amid UK-China tensions.
As per a report by The Guardian, the company was in negotiations with the UK government to build a headquarter in London. ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, had spent months in negotiation with the Department of International Trade and No 10. The company was reportedly in talks to set up a 30,000 sq ft office in London and it was planning to hire 1000 people as well. However, the talks have been suspended after ByteDance executives cited ‘wider geopolitical context’ following the UK government ban on Huawei from its 5G network.
The company also planned to invest as much as £3 billion on making the UK its new home outside China, reports Dailymail. The report further highlights that Singapore and Dublin were among the locations that were being considered by ByteDance, though no American cities were shortlisted. The report highlights that TikTok may be forced to establish HQ in the US to continue its business in the country. India has already banned the application citing security concerns. Multiple security experts in the UK also say that TikTok raises some security concerns.
Will making an HQ outside China be helpful for the company?
ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has a headquarters in China. However, with a recent spur in the relationship of China with other countries like the US and India, the company has lost millions of its users. India was a huge market for ByteDance-owned applications, but the recent ban has put a dent on the company’s user base. Even, the US is considering banning the application. This has left no option, but to shift its HQ outside of China. The move will help the company to project that it does not have any ties with China and it operates as an independent company and not some tool for Chinese spying.
TikTok recently appointed a new American CEO to project itself as a more American company and less Chinese. The company appointed Kevin Mayer as the CEO of TikTok as well as for ByteDance. With this, the company is planning to build its image as a non-Chinese company and shifting its HQ outside of China will be one of the big steps in this direction as it will help to shed its Chinese image.