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    TikTok CEO writes to govt to share India expansion plans

    Synopsis

    Kevin Mayer, TikTok’s US-based CEO, who wrote to electronics and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad soon after the app along with 58 other Chinese apps was banned by India on Monday over concerns of national security, has also sought a personal meeting to explain the data-sharing practices of the ByteDance-owned platform, the people cited above told ET.

    Agencies
    “They have also said that the company has not shared any data with Chinese government and will not do so in the future if asked,” added a second official.
    NEW DELHI: Chinese short video platform TikTok has offered to set up an engineering centre to design and develop products in India while reiterating its plan to establish a local data centre in a letter to the Indian government, top officials said.

    Kevin Mayer, TikTok’s US-based CEO, who wrote to electronics and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad soon after the app — along with 58 other Chinese apps — was banned by India on Monday over concerns of national security, has also sought a personal meeting to explain the data-sharing practices of the ByteDance-owned platform, the people cited above told ET. With the latest proposal TikTok is trying to take its engagement with the country “to the next level”, one of the officials said.

    An inter-ministerial committee set up to inquire into the data-sharing practices of the Chinese companies is slated to begin its hearings in the coming week.

    India is the biggest market for TikTok with close to 200 million users.

    The company said in the past that it stores Indian users’ data in its data centres in Singapore and the US.

    The reiteration of its commitment to set up a data centre in India is aimed at quelling the union government's concerns that data of Indian citizens is being sent to Chinese servers.

    Mayer, who took over as Chief Executive in May, wrote in his letter that TikTok is willing to cooperate with the government on all fronts and wants to understand its concerns.

    “He has said that the company gives the highest priority to privacy and security and that’s the reason for its success all over the world,” one of the officials aware of the letter’s contents told ET.

    “They have also said that the company has not shared any data with Chinese government and will not do so in the future if asked,” added a second official.

    Last July, following run-ins with the Indian government including a short ban, TikTok said it would store data of Indian users locally. The centre was due to come up in the next 6-18 months with an initial investment of $100 million. The company, however, has not offered any update on its plans.

    Mayer, in his letter, said Tiktok has global operations including in the US and European Union with Investors such as KKK, SoftBank, Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic backing the company.

    TikTok did not respond to ET’s email queries on the developments.

    On Wednesday, Mayer addressed employees in India and said the company “has encountered an unfortunate challenge in the country and is working with stakeholders to address their concerns.”

    The company is willing to cooperate with the Indian authorities in their inquiry about its data use and sharing policies in order to satisfy them about the safety of Indian users’ data, the sources said.

    Prasad on Wednesday said that the ban on Chinese apps is a great opportunity to build and promote “Made in India” apps. The dependence on these “foreign apps with their own agenda for a variety of reasons” must stop, he added while commenting on how the indigenous app economy had risen in the last few days following the ban on Chinese apps.

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    2 Comments on this Story

    K Balamurali32 days ago
    Make them bent on to their knees,break their spine. Every ban on chinese fecal materials in India must suffer a death knell and the noose should be tightened.Not an Iota of mercy should be shown.Enough is Enough.Te chinese extracted and earned millions of Rupees from India
    Praker 33 days ago
    Ban all Chinese products and services
    The Economic Times