India’s Reliance in talks with ByteDance to invest in TikTok (report)

In the US, ByteDance is engaged in talks with Microsoft and, say reports, Twitter to salvage the business in the United States.

Microsoft says it’s keen to acquire the app in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Over in India, a parallel narrative is playing out.

Reliance Industries, one of the largest multi-national companies in India, is reportedly in early stage discussions with ByteDance to invest in TikTok in the market, where it was banned along with 58 other Chinese-owned apps in June.

Reliance’s interest in backing TikTok in India was reported byTechCrunch, which, citing a source writes that TikTok’s business in the market is ‘being valued at more than $3bn’.

The potential move from Reliance could see the app revived in India, which, prior to the ban, was the No.1 market for TikTok downloads, according to respected analytics firm Sensor Tower.

The country was responsible for generating 611m lifetime downloads as of April 30.

The blocked apps, claimed India’s Ministry of Information Technology in June,  are “prejudicial to [the] sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer told India’s government in a letter at the end of June that the ByteDance-owned platform has never been asked for user data by the Chinese Government – and wouldn’t hand it over even if it was.

“The privacy of our users, and the security and sovereignty of India, are of utmost importance to us,” reportedly wrote Mayer. 

Last month, Google revealed that  ₹33,737 crore (approximately $4.5 billion), is being invested into Reliance Industries-owned Jio Platforms for a 7.73% equity stake in the company.

The Jio Platforms subsidiary, formed in November when Reliance bundled its digital businesses together, is the parent of India’s largest telco, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, which has over 388m subscribers.

It is also the parent of JioSaavn, the Spotify rival created during a $1bn merger in 2018 between Reliance Industries / JioMusic and decade-old music streaming service Saavn, amongst other media businesses.

Reliance Industries has said that it has become net debt free following a spate of recent investments and according to various news outlets, analysts expect to see a US IPO from Jio as soon as 2021.Music Business Worldwide

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