TikTok global HQ could be on its way to Lon­don

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Margi Mur­phy in San Fran­cisco

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL video app TikTok could be wel­comed with open arms should it de­cide to move its in­ter­na­tional head­quar­ters to Lon­don, but may be asked to store user data on Bri­tish shores, Boris John­son’s ad­vis­ers are ex­pected to rec­om­mend.

A re­view into the Chi­ne­se­owned so­cial net­work, which is used by al­most half of all Bri­tish chil­dren aged 8-12 ac­cord­ing to Of­com, will rec­om­mend that the app can con­tinue to op­er­ate in the UK. This is de­spite a pos­si­ble ban in the US amid con­cerns Bei­jing can ac­cess its users’ data, some­thing that TikTok says it does not al­low.

ByteDance, TikTok’s par­ent, is look­ing for new 30,000 sq ft of­fices in the cap­i­tal and could tre­ble its staff to 1,000. But reg­u­la­tors across Europe and politi­cians in the UK have voiced con­cerns over whether Bri­tain is ac­cept­ing a large risk by tak­ing ad­van­tage of the US’s hos­til­ity and ByteDance’s of­fer of more jobs.

“With a flashy cam­pus in the UK ByteDance would be free to mas­quer­ade as a Bri­tish equiv­a­lent to Face­book or Google, gain­ing cred­i­bil­ity in Lon­don,” Con­ser­va­tive politi­cian Iain Duncan Smith told Bloomberg, which first re­ported on the re­view’s con­clu­sions.

Don­ald Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der on Aug 6 in ef­fect ban­ning the app in the US if it fails to find an Amer­i­can owner next month. ByteDance is in talks with Mi­crosoft, Or­a­cle and re­port­edly We­Work backer Soft­Bank about TikTok.

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