UK says TikTok locating HQ in London would be a commercial decision

The logo of Bytedance, the China-based company which owns the short video app TikTok, or Douyin, is seen at its office in Beijing, China, July 7, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 03 August 2020

UK says TikTok locating HQ in London would be a commercial decision

  • China’s ByteDance to set up TikTok headquarters in British capital, where it would join other tech majors such as Google and Facebook who have a strong presence there
  • Britain had been trying to walk a tightrope over Huawei until it sided with Washington last month by banning the company from its 5G networks from 2027

LONDON: Britain said the location of TikTok’s headquarters was a commercial decision after a newspaper report said the government had given the green light for its Chinese parent company to set up a head office in London for the popular short-video app.
The report in the Sun said the founders of China’s ByteDance would soon announce their intention to set up shop for TikTok in the British capital, where it would join other tech majors such as Google and Facebook who have a strong presence there.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “It would be a commercial decision, and I’m not aware that one has been taken.” TikTok declined to comment.
Any move by ByteDance comes at a fraught time in relations between China and the West, exemplified by the battle over use in 5G telecom networks of kit made by China’s Huawei.
Britain had been trying to walk a tightrope over Huawei until it sided with Washington last month by banning the company from its 5G networks from 2027.
TikTok, whose stars such as Zachary King and Charli D’Amelio have gained worldwide popularity for their brief video performances, has also been in the firing line of US President Donald Trump over supposed security concerns.
Trump however reversed course on a plan to ban the app after Microsoft Corp. emerged as a possible buyer of TikTok’s US operations and he gave the two firms 45 days to come up with a deal.
London has also clashed with Beijing over the imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong but Johnson has said he is a Sinophile, and the British government would welcome another large tech investment in Britain particularly as the Coronavirus crisis sends the economy into a deep recession and possible trade disruptions loom over Brexit.


Pakistan lifts TikTok ban after pledge on ‘indecent’ content

Updated 19 October 2020

Pakistan lifts TikTok ban after pledge on ‘indecent’ content

  • TikTok said it in a statement it had committed to enforcing ‘community guidelines and complying with local laws’
  • Neighboring India has already banned the app, along with dozens of other Chinese mobile platforms

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said Monday it would lift a recent ban on the video-sharing app TikTok after assurances that “immoral” content would be blocked.
The Chinese-owned platform, which is wildly popular among the country’s youth, was banned earlier this month over what authorities in the ultra-conservative Islamic country deemed “immoral, obscene and vulgar” content.
But the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said Monday said it had received assurances from TikTok that the company will “block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality.”
It warned, however, that it would be banned permanently if it failed to moderate posts.
TikTok said it in a statement it had committed to enforcing “community guidelines and complying with local laws” but did not comment on what morality or decency standards it had agreed to.
Arslan Khalid, a digital media adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan, previously tweeted that the “exploitation, objectification & sexualization” of young girls on TikTok was causing pain to parents.
But freedom of speech advocates have long criticized the creeping government censorship and control of Pakistan’s Internet and printed and electronic media.
Owned by China’s ByteDance, TikTok has also faced increasing controversy over how it collects and uses data although it has repeatedly denied sharing user information with Chinese authorities.
Officials in the United States have accused it of being a national security risk and President Donald Trump has said he wants it taken out of Chinese hands.
In Pakistan — a close ally of China — no privacy concerns have been raised.
Neighboring India has already banned the app, along with dozens of other Chinese mobile platforms.