TikTok parent company and Chinese internet giant Bytedance Inc. is to downsize its Indian team since the company is uncertain of a comeback to the country after the government prolonged the ban of TikTok and other Chinese apps last week. TikTok on Wednesday said it is planning to cut down its workforce, which currently consists of about 2000 employees in the country.
It has been seven months since TikTok along with other 59 Chinese apps were initially banned by the Indian government following the India-China border tensions in June last year. The government said that these apps were stealing and transmitting users' data and posed threats to "national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India."
TikTok, the popular short video sharing app was the most prominent among the banned apps and India was one of its biggest foreign markets with an estimated 120 million users from the country.
Last week, Bytedance was told by the Indian government that it still maintains the concerns it initially charged against them and hence will continue with the ban.
"We have worked steadfastly to comply with the Government of India's order issued on June 29, 2020. We continually strive to make our apps comply with local laws and regulations and do our best to address any concerns they have. It is therefore disappointing that in the ensuing seven months, despite our efforts we have not been given a clear direction on how and when our apps could be reinstated," a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement.
The company had cut down the expenses after the ban but paid benefits to its employees in the hope of making a comeback. But after the government announced the prolongation of the ban, the company said it simply could not continue with its full staff while being un-operational.
"It is deeply regretful that after supporting our 2000+ employees in India for more than half a year, we have no choice but to scale back the size of our workforce. We look forward to receiving the opportunity to relaunch TikTok and support the hundreds of millions of users, artists, storytellers, educators and performers in India." TikTok spokesperson added.