A view of the TikTok app logo, in Tokyo. File/AP
Popular short-video Chinese app TikTok is cutting its workforce in India after hundreds of millions of its users dropped it to comply with a government ban on dozens of Chinese apps amid a military standoff between the two countries.
“Given the lack of feedback from the government about how to resolve this issue in the subsequent seven months, it is with deep sadness that we have decided to reduce our workforce in India,” a TikTok statement said on Wednesday.
The statement didn’t give details, but media reports say the company has more than 2,000 employees in India. It expressed the hope it will get a chance to relaunch TikTok in India to support hundreds of millions of users, artists, storytellers, educators and performers.
The Indian government announced a ban on 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, which is operated by Chinese internet firm Bytedance, in June as its relations with China deteriorated. It said the apps were prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India.
China says New Delhi has been using national security as an excuse to prohibit Chinese mobile apps.
Chinese-owned apps have found a fast-growing market in India, with some companies creating India-specific apps that have exploded in popularity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has used the country’s 500 million internet users - second only to China - as a lure to get tech giants including Twitter to localize Indians' data.
The 59 banned apps include video-sharing giant TikTok, Helo and Likee, with authorities accusing them of activities "prejudicial" to the "sovereignty and integrity of India".
About a year ago, Sangita Gaikwad’s teenage daughter Mona introduced her to TikTok. Like many first-time users of the quirky video-sharing app, Gaikwad, a homemaker in a farming village in western India, was baffled.
The Indian ministry of information technology said that the apps "are engaged in activities... prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".
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