TikTok has been in discussions with the UK government over the past few months to locate its headquarters in London, a source familiar with the matter said, as part of a strategy to distance itself from its Chinese ownership.
London is among one of several locations the company is considering, but no decisions have been made, the source told Reuters.
It was not immediately clear what other locations are under consideration. But it has hired aggressively in California this year, including poaching Kevin Mayer, a former Walt Disney Co executive, to be TikTok’s chief executive. He is based in the United States.
TikTok is facing heavy scrutiny in Washington over suspicions China could force the company to turn over user data. TikTok is owned by China-based ByteDance.
The source said the company is largely focused on its issues in the United States over the last few weeks, but has not ruled out London as a potential location for its new headquarters. TikTok is expected to “significantly” increase the size of its workforce in London and other key locations outside of China over the next several years, the source said.
The Sunday Times reported Tiktok has broken off talks with the UK government to open a global headquarters in Britain. But a source told Reuters Tiktok was still in discussions with Britain’s government. TikTok declined to comment.
A former Chinese internet censor recently told The Epoch Times he was interviewed for the role of monitoring and policing videos posted by TikTok users.
He described TikTok’s parent company ByteDance as “the largest and most terrifying censorship machine” he had ever seen.
By Echo Wang
Epoch Times reporters Cathy He and Eva Fu contributed to this report.