China strikes back! TikTok drops plans for massive London HQ after UK shuns Huawei
CHINESE social media giant TikTok has shelved plans to open a massive global headquarters in London after relations between the UK and Beijing turned sour.
PUBLISHED: 02:28, Sun, Jul 19, 2020 | UPDATED: 09:09, Sun, Jul 19, 2020
Last week the Government announced all technology from Chinese firm Huawei must be removed from Britain’s 5G network by 2027. China is also angry Britain is offering sanctuary to potentially millions of Hong Kong citizens who will be affected by the country’s new security laws.
Speaking to the Sunday Times a source said ByteDance, which owns TikTok, had suspended its UK headquarters plans because of the “wider geopolitical context”.
British firms operating in China has also been warned they could face retaliation as Beijing’s anger with the UK intensifies.
On Friday the Sunday Times reports Beijing based UK business leaders were called to a meeting by Chinese government officials where they were warned they could be at risk.
A source speaking to the paper said: “The message was that retaliation is coming and that British firms in China are in the firing line.”
The popularity of TikTok exploded across the world in early 2020 but an increasing number of security concerns are being raised.
Chinese companies are required by law to provide sensitive data if it is requested by the central government.
India has already blocked TikTok on national security grounds and the United States has suggested it could follow suit.
The Government’s move against Huawei reversed an earlier decision announced in January which said equipment from the Chinese company could be used in Britain’s 5G network on a limited basis.