On April 25, an Indian state court reversed an earlier decision to ban TikTok from app stores that serve Indian users. The April 3 decision in question, handed down by the Madras High Court, had cited pornography and safety risks for minors when ordering the Indian federal government to ban downloads of TikTok. This is not the first time that TikTok, or other Bytedance products, have had run-ins with local law in other countries.

Bottom line: Bytedance learned a key lesson in Madras. Unlike other Chinese companies that have enjoyed success abroad, such as smartphone makers, Bytedance creates products that have the potential—if not managed well—to create considerable social harm. Especially in India and Indonesia, which have strict laws against pornography and blasphemy, the company needs to apply the content-control best practices they have honed in China. Given the mounting pressure on Chinese companies as they seek new markets abroad, Bytedance cannot afford to trip over their own feet as they continue their meteoric growth.

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John Artman is the Editor in Chief for TechNode, the leading English information source for news and insight into China’s tech and startups, and co-host of the China Tech Talk podcast, a regular discussion...