TikTok pauses talks on opening London headquarters

Beijing-based unicorn ByteDance, the parent company of short video-sharing app TikTok, has reportedly suspended talks about opening a global headquarters in London.

After months of negotiations with the UK’s Department for International Trade and No 10 officials, ByteDance has halted the talks due to the “wider geopolitical context”, according to a report in The Sunday Times, citing a source.

The news comes barely a week after the UK government announced a ban on the purchase of new Huawei kits for 5G from next year and said that the Chinese telecom giant’s equipment will be completely removed from 5G networks by the end of 2027.

It is feared that the move could lead to strong reactions from China, threatening the start of a tit-for-tat trade war between the two countries.

TikTok is looking to open a new global headquarters for its business outside China after security experts flagged its data sharing practices and its alleged ties with the Chinese state.

The video-sharing platform has denied these allegations.

TikTok was one of the 59 Chinese apps that India banned on June 29. The Donald Trump administration in the US is also considering a ban on TikTok.

TikTok suspending the talks to open the London headquarters has also threatened the creation of 3,000 new jobs, in addition to the near 800 employed by the platform, The Guardian reported.