October 29, 2020

ByteDance said to be in talks with Reliance about TikTok investment


Mukesh D. Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd., attends the Ajay Mushran Memorial Lecture in New Delhi, India, on Sunday, July 10, 2011.

Pankaj Nangia | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries could be about to invest in Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, according to a report from TechCrunch Thursday, which cited two sources familiar with the matter. 

Reliance Industries is currently in “early discussions” with TikTok parent company ByteDance, which is headquartered in Beijing, about a potential deal for TikTok’s business in India, according to the report. 

Discussions between ByteDance and Reliance Industries reportedly began in July but a deal is yet to be reached. TikTok’s business in India has a valuation of $3 billion, according to one of the sources cited by TechCrunch.

It’s unclear if Reliance would like to acquire the whole of TikTok’s business in India or just part of it. 

TikTok has acquired more users in India than in any other country but the app was banned by the Indian government along with 58 other Chinese apps on June 29 as geopolitical tensions between the two nations soared. It’s possible that the Indian government would reinstate TikTok if it was owned by an Indian company, just like President Donald Trump has said TikTok could continue operating in the U.S. provided it is owned by a U.S. company, such as Microsoft

Founded in 1973 and owned by Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, Reliance Industries has traditionally been in the oil and petrochemicals business. Over the last few years, however, it has been putting more of a focus on tech. Reliance’s Jio Platforms business has raised around $20 billion over the last few months from investors including Google and Facebook, which is directly competing with TikTok with Instagram Reels.  

ByteDance, TikTok and Reliance Industries did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment. 

Read the full report from TechCrunch here



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