Chinese short video platform TikTok is currently facing close scrutiny and risks being booted out of the US — which is home to some of its most popular content creators — but the app may find a lifeline there.
The Information reports that a number of US-based investors who already have a stake in TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, are considering purchasing the subsidiary company to gain control of the platform. The move could ease some concerns among governments and users about TikTok handing user data over to Chinese authorities.
There isn’t yet a timeline in place for this, but Bytedance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming has previously said he would be open to the idea of selling TikTok if that’s what’s ‘best for the future of the app.’ The investors looking into snapping up TikTok are General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital.
TikTok was recently banned for a second time in India, where its largest overseas user base of 200 million people resides. And stateside, it’s already been banned on all federally-issued devices as it’s been viewed as a ‘cybersecurity threat.’ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month that the government is looking into whether it needs to be banned across the country.
While a US purchase of TikTok might divorce it from its original parent firm, this could make a lot of sense for the platform. It already has some 1,400 employees in the US, and Axios reports that the company intends to hire 10,000 more people in engineering, sales, content moderation and customer service across California, New York, Texas, Florida and Tennessee.
Oh, and the New York Times noted earlier this month that TikTok brought on board a team of more than 35 lobbyists to build ties with the current administration.
Amid growing tensions between China and governments around the world, and the introduction of Instagram’s Reels, TikTok needs all the help it can get — and a shot in the arm from US investors could be just the thing.