TikTok is laying off all employees in India as the ban becomes permanent. Beijing-based internet giant ByteDance which is the parent of the popular TikTok app has begun the process of laying off its employees from India after last week’s permanent ban of the app by the Indian government.
On Wednesday, TikTok made public its decision of reducing its current staff of 2.000 public, after all, efforts of restoring the app failed.
“We have not been given a clear direction on how and when our apps could be reinstated,” said a TikTok spokesperson. “It is deeply regretful that after supporting our 2,000-plus employees in India for more than half a year, we have no choice but to scale back the size of our workforce. “
TikTok, along with other Chinese apps such as Helo, has been banned since June following rising tensions between New Delhi and Beijing including a clash along the disputed border in the Himalayas that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.
“The compilation of these data, its mining, and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in the statement which also listed the 59 apps subjected to the ban.
In other words, Chinese companies that have so far heavily relied on India in order to construct and test new products on the market are facing a huge crisis.
“We continually strive to make our apps comply with local laws and regulations, and do our best to address any concerns they have,” TikTok added. “It is therefore disappointing that in the ensuing seven months, despite our efforts we have not been given a clear direction on how and when our apps could be reinstated.”
Even Huawei, the world’s second-biggest mobile market and one of the three biggest telecoms equipment suppliers in India, has been sidelined from participating in India’s 5G trials, with key indicators pointing out that local telecoms service providers were advised to avoid future investments that use Chinese goods and services.
“The global strategies of Chinese tech firms are now being hijacked,” said Abishur Prakash, co-founder of “Center for Innovating the Future”, a futurism consulting firm that focuses on technology and geopolitics. “As India pushes out Chinese tech, a chaotic business landscape is emerging. Now, everything that Chinese tech firms have bet on to succeed in the Indian market is being picked apart.”
Ji Rong, a spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, condemned Wednesday India’s decision of enforcing the ban.
“Since last year, the Indian side has repeatedly used national security as an excuse to prohibit some mobile apps with a Chinese background,” she accused. ”These moves [are] in violation of WTO non-discriminatory principles.”
India was TikTok’s biggest overseas market, with an estimated 120 million active users and over 660 million downloads before its ban.