Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp is reportedly planning to invest in Chinese ByteDance's video-sharing app TikTok's business in India. ByteDance is aggressively looking for buyers to selling TikTok's operations in several countries after ban from local governments citing national security and data privacy concerns.
SoftBank is searching local partners and has held talks with a group of bidders, including the heads of Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, for TikTok's India assets, Bloomberg reported, citing sources. The Japanese conglomerate, through its Vision Fund, already owns a minority stake in ByteDance.
Chinese social media platform TikTok, along with 58 other apps, was banned in India on June 29, days after the violent conflict between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley of eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in June this year. Before the ban in June, India was TikTok's largest market outside of China with over 200 million subscribers, while the company was valued at $3 billion.
TikTok's parent, Bytedance is reportedly mulling to reduce its stake in the short-video sharing app as it also faces ban in the US after President Donald Trump threatened to ban it over national security concerns.
There is also speculation in the market that Bytedance is in talk with billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries to financially back its India business. The two companies began conversations in July but the final decision on the deal is yet to be taken. Investment in TikTok by India's biggest oil-to-retail conglomerate could not only save its fate in one of its biggest markets but also provide Reliance deeper connections with its customers.