On Apr 20, 2019, Indian media reported that the ByteDance, which is the parental company of Tik Tok, didn’t get affected by the ban of Tik Tok in India, and still be positive to the Indian market. In the next 3 year, ByteDance plans to invest USD 1 billion to India in order to support the development of its business. ByteDance is one of the companies that are most worthy investing, and it attracted famous investors including Softbank, General Atlantic, KKR and Sequoia. Meanwhile, ByteDance published platforms such as Helo and Vigo Video in India.
Helena Lersch, the chairman of ByteDance’s department of international public policy, when being interviewed, said that ByteDance was strengthening the content management during the past months. “We are disappointed about the current development, but we will solve these problems. We still focus on serving the Indian users.” Lersch said, “As a company, we would invest USD 1 billion on India, which shows how positive we are toward the Indian market.” By the end of 2019, ByteDance will increase its employees into 1000 in Indian area.
Tik Tok allows users to create and share short videos. In India, Tik Tok has 120 million users and is extremely popular among teens. On Apr 3, 2019, the Indian government forced the Apple App store and Google play to withdraw the Tik Tok in Indian, due to the unsuitable content in Tik Tok which may harm to the teenagers. This ban prevents new users to download Tik Tok, but it doesn’t affect the users who have already downloaded Tik Tok.
With the gradual popularity of cheap smartphones and cheaper data resources, Indian became the largest mobile data consumption market. Lersch said that ByteDance would respect the local laws in India and will also adjust itself to be applicated to the Indian culture. ByteDance has a content management team in India. In last year, ByteDance increased 400% of the scale of its content management team globally in order to be well prepared for the increase of the market.
Currently, ByteDance uses 2 methods to manage the content in its platforms. For one thing, they used machine learning tools to filter the contents. For another, the filtered contents would be transferred to the content management team to double-check. The Indian content management team can speak 14 kinds of languages, which could be suitable for different cultures. So far, there are more than 6 million short videos were deleted because of the illegal content issues.
According to Lersch, there are about 250 full-time employees in India, and 25% of them are in charge of content management. In addition, the team is increasing rapidly. However, this is not the first time for Tik Tok to have trouble in overseas expansion. In Feb 2019, ByteDance was reported to violate the law of Children’s privacy, and the company was charged USD 5.7 million. At that time, the App named Musical.ly (now belongs to Tik Tok), and it didn’t require that children can only use the app with the allowance of families. Although ByteDance announced that it doesn’t have any relationship with Tik Tok and ByteDance, but this issue will definitely affect ByteDance’s overseas reputation.