Tik Tok London HQ Plans
Tiktok abandons London HQ plans amid UK-China tensions over Huawei.
09:22 23 July 2020
Chinese social media giant TikTok has abandoned massive plans to open a headquarter in London after the UK shuns Huawei and banned it from its 5G infrastructure. ByteDance, which owns TikTok, has released a statement saying that it is putting a halt on its London HQ plans because of the "wider geopolitical context."
Last week, the UK Government has announced its decision to remove all technology supplied by Huawei from Britain's 5G network by 2027. It further angered Beijing when it offered sanctuary to potentially millions of Hong Kong citizens who disagree with the country's new security laws. Meanwhile, British firms operating in China have been warned they could face retaliation as the relationship of the two nations turns sour.
On Friday, the Sunday Times reported that UK business leaders operating in Beijing were called by Chinese government officials informing them that they could be at risk. A source said: "The message was that retaliation is coming and that British firms in China are in the firing line."
Meanwhile, India has already blocked TikTok on national security grounds and the United States has suggested that it could follow suit. Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who has previously suggested banning TikTok in the UK, added: "No British government should tolerate companies that prop up government-run concentration camps and banning such companies is the best resistance." The comment follows reports that one million Uyghur's and other Chinese Muslims are being held in 're-education camps' in the eastern part of China.