ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, is building its business in many markets around the world where TikTok has been expanding and gaining a lot of traction, such as India and the U.S.

TechCrunch has recently reported that ByteDance is considering an investment from Reliance Industries, Ltd., a huge Indian conglomerate active in many areas, including telecommunications/mobile phone services. Reliance operates Jio Platforms, a major telecommunications and digital services company, that has received investments recently from Facebook, as well as a major private equity firm, Silver Lake Partners. Reliance would specifically be backing the Indian operations of TikTok. This investment would presumably give Reliance a major position in TikTok.

In addition to President Trump’s executive orders seeking to ban TikTok and WeChat, TikTok has also been under the gun in India. Earlier this summer the Indian government banned TikTok, at the same time blocking dozens of other digital services, including WeChat, the hugely popular communications and social media platform that dominates the Chinese Internet.

Despite the ban, many Indians are circumventing the government’s blockade of TikTok, by accessing the Internet through a VPN, or virtual private network, which allows someone to browse the Web and download apps without their true geographic location being detected, as well as providing other privacy benefits.

The Indian government indicated the ban was instituted to protect national security and due to concerns about data privacy for Indian users of TikTok. ByteDance and TikTok have repeatedly assured governments and consumers that the data from TikTok’s users is secure and not shared with the Chinese government.

India is a very important market to China, and is reported to be the second biggest market, after China, for TikTok, with over 200 million users. ByteDance is being smart about not just looking for investments from local companies in the markets where TikTok competes, but searching for investments from corporations, in key countries where they operate. A similar strategy has been used for decades by U.S. and European companies seeking business in China, Japan and the Middle East.

ByteDance shows with the Reliance discussions that they know it is smart to seek partnerships with local companies that have major influence in their markets and have earned great respect in their countries, such as Reliance in India. These investments represent not just the international nature of Internet businesses, but also show that ByteDance wants to be a true international company.

TikTok has many competitors that are positioning to take advantage of the TikTok bans in India and the U.S. These companies include Dubsmash and Triller, as well as Reels, recently launched by Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. Clearly a lot of companies want to compete in the world of user generated videos online.

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