Chinese tech conglomerate ByteDance’s India operations continue to bear the brunt of the India government’s ban on two of its mobile applications, TikTok and Helo.
With the government not loosening its stance on the banned Chinese apps, believed to have compromised data privacy of Indian users, ByteDance’s India business seems unlikely to take off anytime soon. Consequently, several of its senior executives are abandoning the sinking boat, joining other multinational technology companies, many of which happen to be ByteDance’s rivals.
The most notable such exit was of ByteDance’s head of strategy for India, Raj Mishra, who left in August to join TikTok’s US-based rival Triller’s India team in August. Mishra is now the country manager and head of operations for Triller in India. Rohan Tyagi, the former associate director of marketing at ByteDance in India, has joined him as vice president, marketing.
ByteDance’s employees in India joining Triller comes just as the Los Angeles-based social video application looks to expand its presence in the short video segment in the country, as well as usurp long-time leader in the space TikTok, as the number one short video sharing application. Triller has also put in a bid $20 Bn bid to buy out TikTok’s US business.
With over 2,000 employees, ByteDance is running a massive operation in India with offices in Bengaluru, Delhi NCR and Hyderabad as well as several partners. However, the cloud of uncertainty over TikTok and the company’s future in India, many of its employees are either quitting their positions or looking to exit to join rivals such as Mitron, Chingari, Bolo Indya and others. Bolo Indya CEO Varun Saxena told Inc42 it has received “over 70 applications so far from people working in TikTok and Helo across positions such as language leads, community leaders and content moderators.”
Nevertheless, an Economic Times report highlights that the top management at ByteDance, led by TikTok India head Nikhil Gandhi, is still holding the fort. Their decision to wait out the lull in business is based in pragmatism, for reports suggest that the US-based tech giant Microsoft could buy out some of TikTok’s global businesses. Reliance is also reported to be in talks for acquiring the app’s India business. Although, these talks are still in the initial stages.