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Why is ByteDance Selling TikTok?

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ByteDance, the popular tech company behind the well-known social media app TikTok, has been reportedly exploring the sale of its Indian assets to competitor Glance. The news comes after ByteDance recently faced tensions with India in response to its content standards. Regulatory concerns and backlash from local rivals are said to be the major factors behind ByteDance’s decision to explore selling off its Indian assets.

This article will provide an overview of the situation and consider why ByteDance may be selling off TikTok’s Indian assets.


ByteDance, the Chinese tech giant known for its popular video-sharing app TikTok, is reportedly exploring a sale of its Indian operations to Glance, a subsidiary of Indian parent company Reliance Jio.

ByteDance has been facing increasing scrutiny from Indian regulators over its data-collection practices and alleged ties to the Chinese government. This leads to speculation that the company may want to divest its Indian assets.

In this section, we’ll discuss the background of the situation in more detail.

ByteDance’s History

ByteDance is a Chinese technology company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. Headquartered in Beijing, ByteDance has expanded globally and now has offices across Asia, North America, Europe, and Latin America. The company is best known for its TikTok app, which has become one of the most popular social media apps worldwide, with over 800 million users. In addition to its flagship product, ByteDance owns numerous apps such as DUOSHAN, XIGUA Video, and News Republic.

ByteDance initially focused on developing algorithms to understand user behavior in social content recommendations. This focus shifted to machine learning-enhanced content curation services when the company launched its flagship product – Toutiao – a personalized news aggregator that uses A.I. to curate news feed items for each user based on their activity and interests. After experiencing rapid growth within China, in 2017, ByteDance launched Douyin – its first international version of Toutiao, which would later be rebranded as TikTok – and it quickly became one of the most popular social video-sharing platforms around the world.

Recently Bloomberg reported that ByteDance was exploring a sale of its Indian TikTok assets to rival Indian firm Glance, owned by Times Internet Ltd. This move follows an ongoing ban on Indian users from accessing the major Chinese applications TikTok, WeChat, and Helo in India due to security concerns regarding India-China relations following recent clashes at their shared border regions earlier this year.

Overview of TikTok

TikTok is a social media platform owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance. It is focused on short-form mobile videos and allows users to create, share, and discover content. TikTok’s mission is to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and moments that matter in everyday life. The application has become incredibly popular worldwide, with over 800 million active users.

ByteDance has been exploring strategic options for its India business in response to a ban imposed by the Indian government earlier this year following geopolitical tensions with China. This includes a potential sale of its assets in India to Glance, another Indian tech firm. If this transaction goes ahead, it will mark the most high-profile retreat by ByteDance from one of its core markets during the pandemic thus far.

Analysts have highlighted that ByteDance could benefit financially from such a sale. Its presence in India has dragged profitability due to slowing user growth and heavy investments in marketing initiatives to improve market share.

Reasons Behind ByteDance’s Decision

ByteDance, the company behind the popular social media app TikTok, is reportedly exploring selling its Indian assets to rival Glance. This rumor has gained traction in light of the ongoing regulatory uncertainty in India.

In this article, we will look into why ByteDance may have decided on such a move.

India’s Ban of Chinese Apps

India’s ban on Chinese-owned apps, including TikTok, in late June 2020 may be one of the key reasons behind ByteDance’s decision to explore the possible sale of its Indian TikTok assets to rival firm Glance. India is one of the most important markets for ByteDance, and its popular app, TikTok, was one of the highest-grossing apps in revenue there.

The Indian government issued a blanket ban on 59 Chinese apps following border tensions with China in June this year, citing concerns over data security and privacy violations. This ban included other popular Chinese-owned applications such as U.C. Browser, Club Factory, WeChat, Baidu Maps, and more.

India is home to over 600 million users. It offers a vast market potential for digital companies, making it an attractive destination for Chinese tech firms looking to tap into the South Asian country’s enormous user base. By selling its assets in India – a country ByteDance has been trying to develop for some time -, ByteDance may be hoping to find resolutions for the future close ties between their company and these markets. With this sell-off, ByteDance stands to gain financial stability alongside access and freedom from any blame attached to its flagship app being banned in India.

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Regulatory Pressure from the US

ByteDance Ltd., the Chinese company behind the popular video app TikTok, is reportedly exploring selling its Indian assets to a key rival as it faces mounting regulatory pressure from the U.S. government.

The Financial Times they were reported on Thursday (November 5th) that ByteDance is in talks with the parent of Glance, India’s largest short video platform and the native app for Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones. ByteDance would reportedly seek to transfer TikTok’s Indian content library and some of its international staff located in India over to Glance.

The move is seen as a strategic decision by ByteDance, as it moves to protect its business in Asia amid rising U.S. restrictions due to national security concerns linked to potential data privacy breaches. This type of security concern forms part of sanctions placed upon Chinese companies in the U.S., and has caused pressure on ByteDance, compelling them to explore this sale. In addition, the impact on user data has also caused concern among international regulators who have advocated for user privacy initiatives among tech giants like Google and Facebook; This stance has shifted towards foreign firms such as ByteDance, who continue to face scrutiny over their data storing policies which have caused tensions with an increasingly concerned global community driven by a growing mistrust from Big Tech firms from throughout the United States and Europe.

Potential Buyers

ByteDance, the parent company of the popular video-sharing app TikTok, is reportedly exploring the sale of its Indian assets to Mukesh Ambani’s tech giant, Reliance’s subsidiary, Glance. This news comes after the Indian government banned the app in June. The potential buyers of the app are looking to acquire the Indian market from ByteDance and benefit from its huge user base in the country.

Let’s take a look at the potential buyers in this article.


According to Bloomberg’s news report, ByteDance is exploring its options after Indian officials banned the company’s popular video app TikTok in the country. As part of the negotiations, CoinDesk has reported that ByteDance is in discussions with Glance, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indian tech giant Infosys. Glance is an AI-driven visual discovery platform that offers interactive content experiences for more than 100 million users in India.

The potential sale of TikTok India assets to Glance would mark a significant move for both companies. For ByteDance this could be seen as an attempt to mitigate its losses from the Indian market and signal that it still seeks opportunities within the country despite the ban. For Glance, this deal could help them to expand their product offering and reach a wider range of users through TikTok’s social media platform.

Glance could benefit significantly from a partnership with ByteDance on multiple levels including product development, technological collaborations, and organizational culture shifts in addition to gaining access to non-Indian markets where TikTok is popular such as Japan or Indonesia. All these points should be taken into consideration before any decisions are made by both sides involved in these negotiations.

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Other Potential Buyers

Aside from Glance, there are several other potential buyers for ByteDance’s Indian TikTok assets. These include media entrepreneur and Snapdeal co-founder Kunal Bahl; short video platform startup Chingari, which venture capitalist Anupam Mittal backs; information technology firm Zomato; and U.S.-based daily face-swapping app RefaceAI.

In addition, Twitter had also expressed an interest in the deal but was not among the four bidders to submit offers before the deadline of August 27th. It is still being determined whether it has still gone ahead with its bid after missing out on the initial round of negotiations.

Time will tell who emerges as India’s dominant protagonist in this high-stakes transfer power play between ByteDance, Glance and potentially other suitor companies seeking to gain a foothold in India’s fast-growing digital content creation market. For now, much remains uncertain as all of these tech giants battle it out to clinch India’s hottest property.

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ByteDance explores sale of Indian TikTok assets to rival firm Glance: Bloomberg

ByteDance is exploring a sale of its Indian TikTok assets to rival firm Glance, according to Bloomberg. This news has left many wondering what the impact of the sale will be.

In this article, we’ll look at the potential consequences of this sale and its implications for ByteDance, Glance and Indian users of the popular social media platform.

Impact on ByteDance

ByteDance, the Chinese technology giant that owns popular short-video platform TikTok, has been exploring the sale of its Indian assets to rival firm Glance. The news comes amid India’s increasing scrutiny of ByteDance for using its platforms to spread misinformation, and rising tensions between China and India.

The company’s recent explorations of a potential sale reflects the changing environment in which ByteDance operates. With reports that Indian regulators have asked ByteDance to block several hundred applications because they have violated India’s foreign direct investment regulations, there could be potential legal and financial fallout for the company. In addition, the proposed sale serves as an indication that ByteDance views India as too risky of an environment in which to do business. Going forward, ByteDance may be forced to reorganize its finances and operations due to regulations set by Indian authorities.

The proposed sale may also represent a shift in its strategy toward competing globally with rivals such as Glance. If successful, the new owner will be able to benefit from access to hundreds of millions of TikTok users in India.

Impact on TikTok Users

The reports of ByteDance exploring the sale of its Indian TikTok assets to another company raise some important questions about the impact for users. Current TikTok users should be aware that if a sale does take place, it could bring about changes that may affect their experience and usage of the platform.

One potential consequence of a potential sale is unexpected access restrictions, limited content availability, or a reduction in user service levels. The new owner may put in place different terms and conditions related to data security and the use of personal information when creating and linking accounts with third-party websites. In addition, there may be changes to system requirements for client software usage and how it integrates with other applications or services on devices.

Potentially, data collected by ByteDance India might remain under its direct control, depending on which parts of the business are involved in any sale. But eventual changes in ownership could affect privacy policies and terms governing collection, storage and use of data by third parties beyond ByteDance’s direct control – something all data subjects should consider before using TikTok.

It is likely that current app users would have to agree to any such new privacy policies should a change in ownership occur in order to continue using services on the app uninterruptedly; though they may opt out at any point after one’s information has been transferred from ByteDance India if they no longer want to use its Services.


It appears that ByteDance is looking to sell off the Indian TikTok assets for a number of reasons. Firstly, it would reduce their revenue from one of the most successful countries for video networking applications and secondly, it shows ByteDance may be looking to move away from controversial markets after the issues around censorship have been highlighted in India.

By selling off the Indian operations, ByteDance will no longer have to face local regulatory pressure and also opens up the chance for Glance to go head-to-head with other leading players within India’s social media market such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Overall, although an agreement may still not materialize between ByteDance and Glance, it is clear that if a deal were completed, then it could potentially shape India’s social media landscape significantly in the coming months and years.