Re­liance and ByteDance in talks over TikTok In­dia

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Ellie Zolfaghar­i­fard

CHINA’S ByteDance is be­lieved to be in early talks with Re­liance In­dus­tries for an in­vest­ment in TikTok’s busi­ness in In­dia.

The two com­pa­nies be­gan con­ver­sa­tions late last month and have not reached a deal yet, ac­cord­ing to TechCrunch. Video-shar­ing app TikTok has been pop­u­lar in In­dia, with 611 mil­lion down­loads, ac­cord­ing to the an­a­lyt­ics firm Sen­sor Tower.

The app, which has been down­loaded more than two bil­lion times glob­ally, uses a con­tent se­lec­tion al­go­rithm to show users a stream of short videos cov­er­ing ev­ery­thing from dance rou­tines to com­edy sketches.

How­ever, the In­dian gov­ern­ment in June banned 59 Chi­nese apps, in­clud­ing TikTok, for threat­en­ing its “sovereignt­y and in­tegrity” af­ter bor­der ten­sions with China.

If Re­liance’s in­vest­ment in TikTok goes ahead, it could help the oil-re­tail gi­ant gain more trac­tion with con­sumers in the coun­try.

Owned by Mukesh Ambani, who with an es­ti­mated net worth of $57bn (£45bn) is Asia’s rich­est man, Re­liance In­dus­tries has raised $20bn since April with in­vest­ments from tech giants in­clud­ing Face­book and Google.

ByteDance is also be­ing forced to let go of its TikTok op­er­a­tion in the US.

Last week, pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump un­veiled bans on US trans­ac­tions with the China-based own­ers of mes­sag­ing apps WeChat and TikTok, es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions be­tween the two coun­tries.

Mi­crosoft has been in talks to ac­quire the US op­er­a­tions of the videoshar­ing app.

So­cial me­dia plat­form Twit­ter has also ex­pressed in­ter­est in hav­ing a deal with TikTok, sources fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter told Reuters late last week.

Re­liance, ByteDance and TikTok did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

Mukesh Ambani is Asia’s rich­est man and the owner of Re­liance In­dus­tries, which is look­ing to grow its me­dia arm

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