Is China's TikTok opening its global HQ in London?

By Sarah Parsons 3-Aug-2020

The move could cause friction between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump, UK tabloids report

TikTok parent company ByteDance will open its global headquarters in London, The Sun newspaper has reported.

The founders of the Beijing-based company will allegedly reveal the official deal with UK ministers this week.

TikTok's UK office is currently based out of a WeWork building in Holborn, central London, and is the social media app's second largest office behind Los Angeles, US.

Tech giant Microsoft is currently in talks with the Chinese company to purchase its US operations, after President Donald Trump announced plans to ban the app in the country.

US government officials expressed concerns that TikTok could be used to collect the personal data of Americans and shared with the Chinese government.

The fast-growing app has up to 80 million active monthly users in the US.

Since its launch in 2018, the short video platform has been increasingly popular for beauty brands trying to engage with its predominantly Gen Z user base.

Cosmetics Business has reached out to TikTok for comment.

The report from the tabloid follows the news that TikTok is attempting to attract more British content creators to the platform by launching a fund to "nurture and promote the creative talent that is so vital to the UK".

The US$70m (£54m) is said to help TikTok users in the UK and Europe develop a career on the platform and will rise to more than $300m (£231m) within three years.

A similar fund, of $200m, was launched for US users earlier this month.

"Part of why TikTok has thrived here [in the UK] is because as a nation, we are creators - the UK's creative impact is almost without parallel in terms of its variety and influence and our platform reflects this," said Rich Waterworth, General Manager of TikTok Europe.

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"Every day, people on TikTok all over the UK bring together video and music, sparking new trends or riffing on a theme. This mishmash of memes, songs and hashtags is not only taking a new genre of creativity to a wider audience but also influencing mainstream culture."