ByteDance said that it is taking “a significant step towards establishing a data centre in India,” and that it is “in the process of examining options for safe, secure, and reliable services within India’s borders.”
China’s ByteDance, which owns prominent social media apps such as TikTok and Helo and has been under tight government scrutiny for alleged misuse of the apps for ‘anti-national activities’ as per the notices issued to them by the Indian government, has begun talks with local players for storing data of India users within the country that could take six-18 months, PTI reported citing sources. TikTok — the app for creating short-form videos launched in September last year in India claimed to have 120 million active users out of more than 200 million users.
ByteDance, also, in a separate statement announced that it is taking “a significant step towards establishing a data centre in India,” and that it is “in the process of examining options for safe, secure, and reliable services within India’s borders.” The company added that the launch of its apps in India, it has user data at third party data centres in the US and Singapore even as “we now believe the time has come to take the next big leap.”
The government had recently issued notices to the two apps seeking answers to 24 questions by July 22 with respect to collection and storage of data and whether data is shared by any third party and the purpose etc., to avoid a possible ban on their services. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch co-convener Ashwani Mahajan had written a letter to PM Modi, reported by PTI, about the two apps allegedly exposing India’s youth to being influenced by ‘vested interests’.
TikTok and Helo had responded in a joint statement to the notice that it will invest $1 billion in India in the next three years as it is one of the strongest markets for the company. The Madras High Court had earlier in April this year directed the central government to ban TikTok for alleged pornographic and obscene content being uploaded on the app. The ban, however, was lifted later that month. TikTok had called allegations of anti-national activities untrue and had said that the Chinese government doesn’t have TikTok’s user data access.