Chinese company ByteDance, which owns the popular social media app TikTok, is planning to shift its base out of China to London, as per the report in an English newspaper. The report claims that not only has ByteDance made the decision but has also been given the green signal by the UK government headed by Boris Johnson.

With the Chinese Government coming under increased pressure over its alleged mishandling of the Coronavirus outbreak and the implementation of a controversial law in Hong Kong, the company is being targeted by several countries who have a testy relationship with China. There are also allegations that the data collected by the app is shared with the communist regime.

TikTok
TikTok is one of the most popular apps in the world Pixabay

Troubled Times for TikTok

Earlier, the Indian government banned a slew of Chinese apps, most prominently TikTok, in response to a border clash between the armies of the two countries. Now, President of USA, Donald Trump, is also indicating that a ban on the app is imminent. Presently, President Trump has given the company's owners 45 days to sell TikTok to Microsoft.

But the report in The Sun claims that both ByteDance's founder Zhang Yiming as well as the person who created it, Alex Zhu, will move to London where the company's new headquarters will be located.

Boris Johnson
UK government seems happy to let TikTok set its head office in London Wikimedia commons

Trump's Ultimatum

This may cause some tension between the trans-Atlantic allies as Trump's demand for a sell-off of the application is at cross-purposes with the deal allegedly being signed between the British government and the company's owners. As of now, there is no communication from either party on the issue but the report quotes an anonymous minister pointing out the benefits for his country.

The minister talks about the financial benefits of having such a large company in the UK and also points to the innocuousness of the app in terms of geopolitics. "This isn't like Huawei where there are national security concerns," he is quoted in the report.

The grand idea behind this move, probably, is to reassure the world that the company is no longer under the thumb of the Chinese state. With concerns over the security of online data becoming more and more serious, any possibility of the company's links with the non-democratic regime in Beijing raises suspicions.