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China's ByteDance to consider international HQ for TikTok, outside U.S.

Published Aug 03, 2020 02:03AM ET Updated Aug 03, 2020 02:10PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Bytedance, which owns short video app TikTok, is seen at its office in Beijing
 
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By William James and Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON (Reuters) - Chinese tech company ByteDance said on Monday it was considering moving the headquarters of its TikTok video sharing platform overseas, following a British media report that the unit could relocate to London.

TikTok is under heavy fire from U.S. President Donald Trump and other American politicians over concerns that it poses a national security risk, and Microsoft (O:MSFT) has emerged as a possible buyer of TikTok's U.S. operations.

Britain's Sun newspaper reported on Monday that ByteDance's founders would soon announce their intention to set up shop for TikTok in London, where other tech majors such as Google (O:GOOGL) and Facebook (O:FB) have a strong presence.

Asked about the report, a spokesperson for ByteDance said an international move for TikTok was under consideration.

"ByteDance is committed to being a global company. In light of the current situation, ByteDance has been evaluating the possibility of establishing TikTok's headquarters outside of the U.S., to better serve our global users," the spokesperson said.

Britain's government said earlier on Monday that the location of TikTok's headquarters was a decision for the company.

"It would be a commercial decision, and I'm not aware that one has been taken," a spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Any move by ByteDance comes at a fraught time in relations between China and the West, exemplified by the battle over use in 5G telecom networks of kit made by China's Huawei.

Britain had been trying to walk a tightrope over Huawei until it sided with Washington last month by banning the company from its 5G networks from 2027.

TikTok, whose stars such as Zachary King and Charli D'Amelio have gained worldwide popularity for their brief video performances, has also been in the firing line of U.S. President Donald Trump over supposed security concerns.

Trump however reversed course on a plan to ban the app after Microsoft Corp (O:MSFT) emerged as a possible buyer of TikTok's U.S. operations and he gave the two firms 45 days to come up with a deal.

London has also clashed with Beijing over the imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong but Johnson has said he is a Sinophile, and the British government would welcome another large tech investment in Britain particularly as the coronavirus crisis sends the economy into a deep recession and possible trade disruptions loom over Brexit.

China's ByteDance to consider international HQ for TikTok, outside U.S.
 

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Comments (5)
Suman Jutur
Suman Jutur Aug 03, 2020 2:53PM ET
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rogue apps
Ben Dover
Ben Dover Aug 03, 2020 2:36PM ET
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CCP will foot the bill anyways. These companies are nothing but a venue for information collection.
YC Teng
YC Teng Aug 03, 2020 7:35AM ET
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Just waiting for Trump to leave the White House...
Suman Jutur
Suman Jutur Aug 03, 2020 7:35AM ET
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just waiting for whinne the phoo to hibernate
David David
David9 Aug 03, 2020 4:12AM ET
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I told you guys...there are many ways around this. Either Microsoft pays a huge amount, or Bytedance can move to Europe, or users can easily use VPN to access.
Mdf Ahsjf
Mdf Ahsjf Aug 03, 2020 2:21AM ET
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Would a move mean that the sale is effectively not necessary anymore and thus unlikely?
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Aug 03, 2020 2:21AM ET
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They sell only usa operation n keep the rest. This move is their hope that they r not ban in uk, eu
 
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