Rumours on the popular Chinese social media platform have surfaced in British media following a potential ban in the United States, with some stating it could spark fresh diplomatic rows between Washington, Beijing and London.
ByteDance-owned social media platform TikTok is set to relocate its headquarters from Beijing to London in a deal inked with Downing Street, the Sun newspaper reported on Sunday.
According to the tabloid, ByteDance execs will announce their decision soon, with the move potentially angering the Trump Administration, who has mulled banning TikTok in the United States. TikTok has not commented on the rumour.
— Andrew Jude (@itsandrewjude) August 3, 2020
Government ministers said it would be “absurd” to deny TikTok a headquarters in the British capital, with one quoted by the Sun stating: “This isn’t like Huawei where there are national security concerns.”
The news comes after Microsoft Corp said in a blog post it would continue negotiations on its potential buyout of TikTok’s US branch, adding it hoped to conclude negotiations by 15 September.
US president Donald Trump has threatened to ban ByteDance from the US unless it sold its US operations, despite the latter objecting to the sale, adding it would contribute to US jobs and remain commitment to data security and privacy.
But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused the Chinese tech firm of “feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party”, echoing similar claims from US lawmakers ahead of the November elections.
President Trump also announced a 45-day window for ByteDance to agree on selling its platform to Microsoft, according to sources speaking to Reuters.
TikTok has been banned in India along with 105 additional Chinese apps, media reported in late July.