By Benyamin Davidsons
TikTok, the video-sharing social networking giant, has long been the target of debate for its Chinese ownership. Owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based internet technology company founded in 2012, TikTok is now trying to distance itself from its origins. ByteDance is moving its headquarters from Beijing to London, under a new deal approved by British officials, The Sun newspaper reported.
As reported by Reuters, ByteDance’s founders are shortly expected to announce the impeding move to London. More details regarding the deal were not yet made public. The move will likely frustrate President Donald Trump, who has been considering a ban on TikTok in the United States as of September 15. TikTok has become the fastest-growing app in the world, and the most valuable startup in the world. Nevertheless, the US military and many US corporations have barred employees from downloading the app, alleging that it is a security risk. TikTok has been accused of sharing its users’ data with China, though it has denied doing so. The company has been trying to gain credibility in the U.S. As per Crain’s, over the spring, it started shifting much of its operations from China to America, going so far as to hire a new CEO– Kevin Mayer, formerly the head of streaming at Disney Company. In July, TikTok also signed a lease agreement for space in Times Square, aiming to make a new expansive US headquarter. The 230,000-square-foot, 7-floor lease, is in 48-story iconic One Five One building on West 42nd Street.
In the meantime, there is also a possibility that TikTok will be bought from ByteDance, splitting it from the Chinese internet giant. On Sunday, Microsoft Corp. said it would continue discussions to acquire TikTok from ByteDance, aiming to conclude the negotiations by mid-September. As reported by Yahoo Finance, a potential acquisition by Microsoft would be beneficial for both parties. The app would get a much needed boost of credibility, saving it from being banned in the U.S. Microsoft would also benefit, gaining access to younger users who may dodge Microsoft products, rather opting for its competitor’s products such as Google’s Chromebooks and Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Microsoft wants to “age up with the user base,” Jefferies analyst Brent Thill told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move. “So if they can get the younger audience today then that’s a vehicle to then sell other solutions.”
TikTok and ByteDance were not immediately available for comment.