TikTok reportedly fired as many as 40 employees on Monday (February 6), telling them February 28 would be their last working day
The ByteDance-owned platform was banned in June 2020 as part of India’s ongoing crackdown on Chinese apps
In mid-2022, the Chinese hectacorn was rumoured to be looking to re-enter India, but there has been no development on that front
Short video platform TikTok fired its entire Indian workforce earlier this week, three years after it was banned in India on the grounds of national security.
TikTok fired as many as 40 employees on Monday (February 6), according to an ET report, and told its employees that they would receive up to nine months of severance, though most of the people would receive a standard three-month severance.
The employees at TikTok’s India arm were told that February 28 would be their last working day, the publication noted. The employees have been told to look for other opportunities as well. ByteDance is not confident that India operations would restart, given the government’s stance on Chinese apps, the report added.
Speaking to Inc42, a TikTok spokesperson said, “We have taken the decision to close our India remote sales support hub, which was put in place at the end of 2020 to provide support to our global and regional sales teams. We greatly appreciate these employees and their impact on our company, and will ensure they are supported at this difficult time.”
In mid-2022, the Chinese hectacorn was reported to be looking to re-enter India with a partnership with the Hiranandani Group, a data centres aggregator in the country. However, there has been no new development in this context.
TikTok was banned in June 2020 as part of India’s ongoing crackdown on Chinese apps, which has seen close to 300 Chinese apps being banned since then on the grounds of national security. Even now, India is in the process of banning tens of lending and betting apps with alleged connections to China.
It is also prudent to mention that most of the Indian employees had been working in either Dubai or other locations since TikTok was banned in India. When the ByteDance-owned platform was banned in India, the country was the biggest overseas market for it. TikTok had more than 200 Mn users in India in June 2020.
TikTok’s exit prompted many Indian platforms such as MX Takatak, Josh, Moj and others to fill up the space left behind by TikTok. Further, Meta-owned Instagram’s short video platform Reels and YouTube’s YouTube Shorts also took a significant share of the Indian market.
Incidentally, the company is facing increased scrutiny elsewhere in the world ever since India banned the app. At present, TikTok finds itself in a precarious position in the US, one of its largest overseas markets.
In a recent media interaction, when asked if TikTok would be banned in the US, President Joe Biden responded with a “maybe”, leaving things uncertain.
India had banned the short video platform on allegations of the company sharing data with China’s ruling party as well, something ByteDance has denied ever since.
Update | February 16, 2023, 7:30 PM
The story has been updated to reflect TikTok’s comments on the matter.