The Indian government on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.
Chinese internet technology firm ByteDance created TikTok, in September 2016 after witnessing the success of a similar app Musical.ly. However while launching in Southeast Asia and beyond, TikTok branded itself as a more “global” version of Musical.ly. In November 2017, ByteDance paid a reported 1 billion USD to acquire Musical.ly, which was then folded into TikTok.
TikTok is an app that allows users can create short videos of themselves lip-syncing to songs, or acting out comedy sketches, with a database of music, effects and sound bites. Currently the app holds over 2 Billion downloads worldwide of which 611 million are from India.
ByteDance was founded by Zhang Yiming, Chairman and CEO of the company. It's headquarters is located in Haidian District, Beijing, China. In 2019, Yiming was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time Magazine. He holds a B.A. in Software Engineering from Nankai University.
Other products include Toutiao, BuzzVideo, Vigo Video and Helo.
According to a report by Business Insider, ByteDance is worth more than 100 billion USD as of May 2020. This was during its collaboration with Disney. Kevin Mayer, head of Disney’s streaming business, has been serving as the CEO of TikTok and the COO of ByteDance.
With products available in over 150 markets, ByteDance has offices in 126 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo. As of November 2019, ByteDance has over 60,000 employees and 15 research and development centers around the globe.
Meanwhile, TikTok and Helo have been taken down from Google Play store and Apple App store.
"The Government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok, and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications," Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok, India said.
TikTok added that it continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under the Indian law and has not shared any information of its users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese government.