On Monday, TikTok’s spokesman has told that it will exit the Hong Kong market within days. Other tech companies including Facebook Inc have suspended the processing as government requests for user data in the region.
China-based ByteDance owns the short video app which has made the decision to exit the region. In response, a TikTok’s spokesman said “In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong.”
In the past, when the company was run by Kevin Mayer, former Walt Disney Co executive, he said that the app’s user data is not stored in China. Additionally, the company has previously said that it would not comply with any requests to censor content or accessing it’s user data from the Chinese government. They also clarify that they haven’t ever been asked to do so.
Hong Kong is a loss-making market for the company as the region is small. Last August, according to TikTok’s reported the company had attracted 150,000 users there.
According to Sensor Tower, an analytics firm, TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times globally, after its first quarter this year. ByteDance’s decision came as there were a lot of uncertainties if Hong Kong would fall under Beijing’s jurisdiction.
TikTok was designed in a strategic way to appeal to a more global audience by eliminating it’s accessed to mainland China. Its equivalent on the mainland is called Douyin. A ByteDance spokesman said, currently, there are no plans to introduce Douyin to the Hong Kong market.
Furthermore, a source said that despite having many accesses to overseas app stores, Douyin gathered more user’s data than TikTok in Hong Kong. Users in Mainland Chinese can download the app either when they are in the mainland or by switching accounts.