All plans to rescue TikTok has failed and now ByteDance is left with no other option but to sell TikTok India.
After seemingly battered into submission and buried for all good, ByteDance is now up and scouting in its fallen land, India.
According to fresh reports, ByteDance is said to be entertaining the possibility of the sale of Indian operations of TikTok. The partner in contention is said to be none other than rival unicorn Glance.
From what has been set forth by the people in the know, the discussions between the two parties have been initiated by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. As of now, the conglomerate has been desperate to keep its intervention on the low, understandably, because of the early and complex nature of the talks. The piquing aspect here is this – SoftBank is the backer of Glance’s parent InMobi as well as TikTok’s Chinese parent, ByteDance!
For ByteDance and TikTok, the motto is unflinchingly clear. This is a rescue attempt for the money-spinning short video sharing app that’s been banned indefinitely in the desi land.
At the moment, the discussions involve a quartet of Softbank, ByteDance, and the authorities on either side of the border. The factors underscoring the potential deal are mired in a web of complications, ever since the strained ties because of the border incident, which led to the Indian government banning a horde of Chinese apps.
Any agreement on the part of SoftBank, ByteDance, and Glance will need a final seal of approval from Indian authorities. Ever since the patch of strained relations, the Indian government will insist that user data and technology of TikTok stay within its borders, while China’s new stringent export rules make things even more delicate.
From whatever that has transpired, SoftBank could be the one in the driver’s seat if the proposed scenario pans out favourably for all parties, seeing as how the wary eyeballs surrounding the popular entertainment app lessens around the prominent market lands, particularly the Biden administration pausing legal proceedings against the app.
The attempt to reclaim status is in stark comparison to TikTok’s fortunes, who had managed to garner a whopping 611 million downloads and hit well over 200 million users in India, its biggest market outside China. Singlehandedly powering ByteDance towards its $75 billion valuation, the ban on TikTok due to the artificial intelligence-powered posing a threat to India’s sovereignty has since led ByteDance to soberingly unwind its local operations, culling thousands of Indian employees in the process. Many of them have been forced to gravitate towards home-grown rivals since then.
Now in the frame, TikTok’s potential partner, Bangalore-headquartered Glance Digital Experience, raised more than $145 million from Google and existing investor Mithril Capital, an investment fund of Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and Palantir Technologies.
The mobile content platform, helmed by Harvard Business School alum Naveen Tewari, has seen its latest offering Roposo, see massive growth after the announcement of the TikTok ban in the country.
The dozens of short video app rivals that have mushroomed in India after the TikTok ban aftermath has seen Glance and Roposo’s growth reach towards the skies, pushing the user base to over 130 million.
Now in the mix to acquire TikTok’s Indian operations, this could be the start of something very fruitful for Glance and a road back into the Indian diaspora for TikTok, where Softbank stands to gain in each event.
Stay tuned for more updates.