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ByteDance is in talks with Reliance to back TikTok in India, says report

Yasmin Ahmed     August 13, 2020

Chinese tech company ByteDance is in talks with Reliance Industries Limited to back TikTok's business in India, sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The development comes weeks after the Indian government banned TikTok with 58 other Chinese apps. The report by TechCrunch stated that Reliance and ByteDance are still in the early stages of discussions and yet to finalize a deal.

The two companies reportedly began talks last month. TikTok's business in India is reportedly valued at $3 billion.

However, there is no official word from Reliance or ByteDance yet. ByteDance has around 2000 employees in India and has currently stopped hiring, a report by ET stated. The company has ensured its employees that there will be no layoffs and that it is in contact with the Indian government.

Earlier, this week, there was a speculation that TikTok may return to India if Microsoft decides to buy it as a result of global expansion. Microsoft is in talks with ByteDance to purchase the TikTok business in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. However, things with the deal seemed unclear after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order effectively banning TikTok from the US after a 45-day deadline.

The Indian government banned TikTok along with 58 other Chinese apps citing security concerns. It further banned 47 apps as a follow-up. India has also prepared a list of over 250 Chinese apps, including those linked to Alibaba and Tencent that it will examine for any user privacy or national security violations.

Tech giants like Facebook and Google have partnered with Reliance on recent projects. At the first ever virtual Reliance AGM meeting, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani announced that Google is investing Rs 33,737 crore in Jio Platforms.

Google CEO Pichai said the investment was made to launch a customized version of its Android mobile operating system to power low-cost Android smartphones. The investment will get Google a 7.7 per cent stake in Jio. Facebook invested $5.7 billion in Jio to acquire close to 10 per cent stake. Mukesh Ambani launched JioMart in collaboration with WhatsApp.


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