ByteDance denies TikTok is for sale

Chinese social media company ByteDance has denied reports that it has considered selling part or all of its popular short form video platform TikTok.

Bloomberg reported on December 23 that ByteDance was weighing options of a sale due to concerns from the US government over how it stores and uses personal data.

ByteDance has taken steps to separate its TikTok business from the rest of its Chinese operations in a bid to reassure the authorities.

However, its president Alex Zhu said these steps do not include a sale.

“From time to time you may read stories in the media that are not true. Today there is an inaccurate report claiming that ByteDance has considered selling part or all of TikTok,” Zhu said in an internal company note seen by Reuters.

“We went on the record saying it was not true, but they decided to publish it anyway. I want to assure you that we have had no discussions with potential buyers of TikTok, nor do we have any intention to.”

A ByteDance spokeswoman added that there had “been no discussions about any partial or full sale of TikTok”.

“These rumours are completely meritless,” she said.

In the UK, TikTok recently promoted head of EMEA marketing Richard Waterworth to UK general manager, a role giving him full responsibility for the social media firm’s UK operations. It followed similar moves in key markets, including the US and India.

The Chinese-owned company was recently valued at USD$75bn but has yet to introduce a formal advertising product on to the site. However, brands have been experimenting with the platform, despite well publicised brand safety issues earlier this year.


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