Chinese giant ByteDance is getting involved in early discussions with Reliance Industries Limited, the parent firm of telecom giant Jio Platforms, to financially support TikTok’s business in India, in a move to potentially save the fate of its popular video app in its largest user market, two people said. familiar with this issue for TechCrunch.
The two companies began talks late last month and have yet to reach an agreement, sources said, requesting anonymity as the talks are private. Tiktok̵7;s business in India, where it had gathered over 200 million users before being banned in late June, is being valued at more than $ 3 billion, one source said.
ByteDance did not respond to a request for comment.
An investment in TikTok could help retail giant Reliance, India’s most valuable firm, make deeper connections with customers. Although Jio Platforms has amassed nearly 400 million users in India in less than four years of its existence, its consumer-facing applications have struggled to repeat that appeal.
Since the end of April this year, the Indian giant’s digital venture has raised about $ 20 billion from 13 high-profile investors, including Facebook and Google. Google said it will work with Jio Platforms to release a personalized version of its Android mobile operating system to supply low-cost smartphones. Facebook said it would work with Reliance to help digitize the country’s 60 million small and medium-sized businesses.
Preliminary talks between the two companies come as ByteDance also struggles to retain some key employees in India. A handful of top executives at the company, including a policy executive and Rohan Mishra, who oversaw ByteDance-owned Helo app operations in India, have left the company in recent weeks, according to people familiar with the matter. issues. Mishra did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday at noon.
ByteDance has assured employees that it is in talks with the Indian government to resolve New Delhi concerns and has no plans to lay off employees in the country. ByteDance employs around 2,000 people in India.
ByteDance is teaming up separately with Microsoft to sell its business in select markets, including the US, the Windows maker confirmed earlier this month. The Financial Times reported last week that the two companies had expanded the scope of the deal to include TikTok’s business in other markets, including Europe and India.
Dealdo deal with Reliance – owned by Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man and an ally of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – could help ByteDance alleviate the concerns of the Indian government, which has banned TikTok and 58 other applications. developed by Chinese firms citing security concerns in late June
A number of local startups, including ShareChat and Times Gaana and Twitter-backed MX Player, have launched standalone apps or built-in features to replicate the social experience TikTok gave users. Local apps have claimed to have added tens of millions of new users in recent weeks.
Facebook, which launched Reels on Instagram in India last month, has seen daily engagement across its entire service family increasing by more than 25% since the ban on TikTok, according to a person familiar with the matter.