ByteDance loss may hit $6b after India bans Chinese apps

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/7/1 22:17:50

Photo: VCG

Chinese internet company ByteDance - the parent of the TikTok and Helo apps - could lose up to $6 billion after the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps following a deadly border clash between Indian and Chinese troops last month, a source close to the matter said.

The Indian Ministry of Information Technology on Sunday banned the 59 apps, claiming that they were "prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order."

A source close to ByteDance said that in the past few years, the company had invested more than $1 billion in the Indian market, and the ban could virtually halt ByteDance's business there, causing a loss as high as $6 billion. That figure would exceed the potential losses of all the other apps combined.

TikTok is a short video-sharing platform under ByteDance, and Helo is a social media platform the company released for the Indian market. Another app called Vigo Video, which is also on the list, is also from the company.

According to data from Sensor Twoer, a mobile app analysis company, TikTok was downloaded 112 million times in May, with 20 percent of that total in the Indian market, double that of the US market.

According to Reuters, the Indian government has told local telecom operators to block visits to the 59 apps. For apps that have already been downloaded, the telecom operators must find ways to block users from visiting them. TikTok and Helo are no longer available in Indian app stores, and already-downloaded TikTok apps don't display any content. 

In a statement, TikTok said that it is cooperating with the Indian government to block content, and the app will keep obeying local laws to protect users' privacy.

Many influencers on the platform were caught off guard by the sudden ban. Kumar Mahato, who shot into the limelight with his old-school Bollywood dance routines, said that he has put more than 18 months of effort into the platform, the Times of India reported.

"My journey with TikTok is testimony to the fact that such platforms can do wonders for artists like us," said the report citing Kumar, who has about 2.7 million followers on the platform.

India has long been seen by Bytedance as one of the world's most important markets. In April 2019, the company said that it would invest $1 billion in the Indian market. In July the same year, the company released plans to build a data center in India.

According to public information, the company has hired more than 2,000 local employees.

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