Banned TikTok cuts Indian staff

TikTok has told its staff in India that only critical staff will be retained after the country’s government made permanent a ban that was introduced in 2020.

TikTok was one of a number of Chinese apps that were banned in June 2020, along with the likes of Xiaomi’s video service and UC News. The ban, initially a temporary one based on cybersecurity concerns, was made permanent earlier this week after the government decided that these issues had not been resolved. At the time of the initial ban, India was TikTok’s biggest market with more than 200 million monthly active users.

In the wake of TikTok receiving a permanent ban from the 600 million internet users in India, the video app’s parent company ByteDance has reportedly made the call to lay off more than 2,000 workers. 

According to an internal memo sent to staff, more than two-thirds of TikTok’s Indian staff are set to lose their jobs, with ByteDance protesting that it had no choice but to reduce its workforce. The memo from TikTok CEO Vanessa Pappas and VP of Global Business Blake Chandlee said that the company had “initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived” but that “we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while our apps remain un-operational.”

In light of the ban, a Chinese Embassy spokesperson in India said that “these moves in violation of WTO non-discriminatory principles and fair competition principles of market economy severely damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”

TikTok was facing a similar fate in the US, with the app becoming a target of former president Donald Trump. However, the app, which was largely in his sights as part of his anti-China re-election campaign, has been given an indefinite stay of execution in the country and is unlikely to be permanently removed by the Biden administration.

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