Social media company TikTok announced on Sunday local time that it was pulling out of negotiations to set up its non-China operations in the UK, leading to the loss of 3,000 jobs,media reported. TikTok’s parent company, Byte Dance, is based in Beijing and has been in talks with the UK Department for International Trade and Downing Street over the past few months to expand its business with its overseas headquarters in London.
Byte Dance is understood to have pulled out of the talks after the British government banned Huawei from developing a UK 5G mobile network. No decision has been made on the location of its headquarters, and it is not clear which other locations are under consideration. However, TikTok is likely to have a headquarters in Dublin, where several employees already have.
Critics have warned that TikTok is a threat to national security and should be banned in the UK. But Byte Dance points out that its board includes a U.S. chief executive and several U.S. executives, and has consistently denied allegations that it shares user data.
India has imposed a ban on TikTok, and the Trump administration is considering following suit. Last week, Larry Kudlow, Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, said TikTok could leave its Chinese parent company to avoid being banned in the US.
British officials are understood to be hopeful of Byte Dance rejoining the talks after making it clear that the UK was only banning Huawei under pressure from the US.
A ByteDance spokesman said: “The UK is one of the most important markets in the world, with a talented and diverse team in London, including senior leadership. The number of UK workers has quadrupled in the past year and we expect to continue to grow strongly. “
He added: “We remain fully committed to investing in London and inspiring creativity through our products and platforms to bring joy to users around the world.” “