Chinese tech giant unicorn ByteDance Ltd is anticipating a loss of over $6 billion after three of its apps, including the hugely popular video app TikTok, were banned by India this week, a media report said.
Besides Tiktok, India banned 58 other apps with Chinese links, including the popular UC Browser, for engaging in activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. The ban came in the wake of the ongoing stand-off along the Line of Actual control in eastern Ladakh with Chinese troops.
The $6 billion amount is most likely more than the combined losses for all the other Chinese apps banned by India, China’s Caixinglobal.com reported, quoting sources close to the company’s senior management.
ByteDance became one of China’s latest homegrown technology companies to run into growing resistance from foreign governments wary of the perceived ties to the Chinese government and concerns about protecting user data, it said.
The ByteDance apps banned were its short video platforms TikTok and Vigo Video, as well as its social networking app Helo. Tencent’s messaging platform WeChat and five of its other apps were also banned. Other big tech China firms, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc., also had their products banned.
All the 59 apps have now been removed from Apple Inc and Google LLC’s app stores for the Indian market.
TikTok was downloaded in India 611 million times in this year’s first quarter, equating to 30.3% of its total downloads worldwide in the quarter and nearly double the total number of India downloads for all of 2019, the report quoted another publication, SensorTower, as saying.
The consequences of India’s latest decision could be more long-lasting, analysts told Caixin.
Responding to the Indian government’s move, TikTok said it would fully comply with the decision. ByteDance employs over 2,000 full-time local staff in India.