According to the Paper (in Chinese), a source close to Bytedance says that the Chinese media giant behind Tiktok expects to suffer $6 billion in losses over India’s ban on Chinese apps. Bytedance products Tiktok, Helo, and Vigo Video are all listed.
Why it matters: India is Bytedance’s most important oversea market, with more than 200 million Tiktok users, and a user base of nearly 60 million on other apps. Bytedance has invested heavily in the market.
- In April 2019, Bytedance announced a $1 billion, three-year investment plan in India.
- In July 2019, it announced plans for its first Indian data center in an effort to assuage Indian concerns over data protection.
- The company has 2,000 staff in India as of today.
Context: The ban is believed to be a response to a border clash with China that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
- Bytedance has already decided to shut down short video app Vigo Video, announcing plans in June to close Vigo and move its users to Tiktok by the end of October.
- Unlike other Chinese tech companies, Bytedance has already been banned in India once, for a week in April 2019 after the Madras High Court heard accusations that Tiktok exposes children to pornography.
- One day after the Court’s order, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party also asked for a ban on Helo, alleging China’s interference in Indian elections. It was not granted.