A few months after the popular TikTok video app was banned, the company told employees in an internal memo on Wednesday that China’s ByteDance is reducing the size of its more than 2,000 Indian teams and is not sure when it will make a comeback.
This move follows India’s decision this month to retain the ban on TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps, after the company responded to issues such as compliance and privacy.
“We initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived…we find that has not been the case,” ByteDance wrote in the memo which was seen by Reuters.
“We simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while our apps remain un-operational…we don’t know when we will make a comeback in India”
In a statement, the company said it was disappointing that despite its efforts it had not received a clear direction on how and when its apps could be reinstated. It did not specify how many employees would lose their jobs.
The company said in a statement that it is disappointing that despite its efforts, it has not received clear guidance on how and when to restore its applications. It does not specify how many employees are unemployed.
Before the ban, India was one of TikTok’s largest markets, and ByteDance formulated a plan to invest US$1 billion in India in 2019.
When the ban was issued last year, the Indian government described these applications as detrimental to “India’s sovereignty and integrity.” Prior to this, Chinese troops clashed at a disputed Himalayan border site, killing 20 Indian soldiers.
In the United States, the former Trump administration ordered ByteDance to spin off TikTok on national security grounds and tried to impose restrictions that might actually prohibit its use.
TikTok has also been censored in Australia because it may bring potential external interference and data privacy issues, thereby posing any risks to users.