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TikTok wants to break away from China's ByteDance to escape US ban

After India banned TikTok, the US is threatening to ban ByteDance's app that popularised short-form video format globally.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | July 17, 2020 | Updated 17:28 IST

Highlights

  • TikTok could be looking to separate itself from ByteDance to avoid US ban.
  • Its parent company ByteDance is based in China, which has emerged as a global issue.
  • TikTok was banned in India along with 58 other apps recently.

TikTok found itself caught up in a myriad of allegations after various regulators began scrutinising ByteDance's most popular app. After facing a ban in India a few weeks back, TikTok may be banned in the US over the allegations that it siphoned off user data to Beijing. To evade the ban, TikTok is mulling to break away from its parent company ByteDance, which is based in China.

The information comes courtesy White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, who told local media that although TikTok has preliminary plans to take its own course, there is nothing concrete as of now. "We haven't made final decisions (on the ban) but as has been reported in some places, I think TikTok is going to pull out of the holding company which is China-run and operate as independent company," said Kudlow.

TikTok, which is now all the rage among millennials in India, the US, and several other countries, has been subjected to various regulations over the type and quality of content that goes viral on its platform. Among other concerns, US accused TikTok of aiding Beijing in its plans to surveil US users - something that India likely feared, as well and decided to ban it among 58 other 'Chinese' apps. The White House even threatened to ban TikTok as the tensions between the US and China simmered over the coronavirus pandemic.

Kudlow said TikTok could either operate as a standalone company or be bought. He declined to speculate on who could buy TikTok but said it will be a "much better solution" than banning it in the US. TikTok has nearly 45 million active users in the US and its customer base is set to zoom past the 60-million mark by the year 2024, according to a report by Statista.

TikTok's popularity has scared off heavyweights, such as Facebook, so much so that the Mark Zuckerberg-led company outed at least two replicas of TikTok called Lasso and Reels subsequently. While Lasso could not take off, Reels is making inroads in additional markets, such as India to fill the TikTok-sized void. The government banned TikTok over cybersecurity concerns days after the face-off between India and China at the LAC took place. The overarching move is being viewed as the government's decision to punish China and promote local apps at the same time.

Days after TikTok disappeared from India's internet ecosystem, local counterparts, such as Chingari, Rhoposo, and Mitron, began flourishing at a meteoric pace, garnering hundreds of downloads in a day.

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