TikTok owner ByteDance is proposing to pour out a huge amount of money and hire hundreds of people in Singapore after the company decided setting up a nerve center in Southeast Asia is a wiser move, a source with knowledge of the plan disclosed.
However, a CNBC report citing sources said the company's plans about establishing a new data hub in Singapore is not true, adding that ByteDance had ramped up the acquisition of computer servers in the country to back-up U.S. data in case of any eventuality, adding that the Chinese tech group has drafted the proposal last year.
Separately, a company source bared that TikTok had already sent a group of engineers from China to Singapore starting this year. The Beijing-headquartered firm is planning to invest billions of dollars over the next three years in Singapore, where it has applied for a permit to launch a digital bank, the sources said.
ByteDance's move comes at a time when the Trump administration has pressured the Chinese firm to dispose of its TikTok operations in the U.S. Washington has repeatedly said that the TikTok platform is a potential security threat to the U.S. because of the massive volume of private information that the video-sharing app is amassing from U.S. consumers.
TikTok has denied the U.S.' assertions and said that the platform stores all user data in the country, with back-up in Singapore, which analysts claim could turn out to be more appealing for investors interested in setting up a neutral location in the face of mounting frictions between China and the U.S.
Meanwhile, based on a Thursday story by Bloomberg, ByteDance is seen to miss the Sept. 20 deadline set by Washington for the sale of TikTok's U.S. assets, as new restrictions by Beijing have derailed discussions for a potential sale with suitors like Oracle and Microsoft.
The most highly-valued startup in the world, ByteDance is aggressively pushing with plans to take its social media business right in the heart of Asia after complications in Europe and India, and the U.S. The billionaire Zhang Yiming-led group has had Southeast Asia's 650 million smartphone-users in its crosshairs, a strategic geographical location where India's Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings are also making headways, Bloomberg reported.
According to Singapore Economic Development Board executive vice president Kiren Kumar, although the country is facing a volatile environment, many global firms continue to grow their business in Singapore.