TikTok Marks European Growth As Clouds Loom Over US Operations

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TikTok announced on Monday (Sept. 14) that it has surpassed passed 100 million users in Europe, news that comes amid rising uncertainty over the fate of its operations in the United States.

The video-sharing app, owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, said it now has 1,600 employees in Europe. The majority of them, 1,300, are based in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“Since we first established our presence in Europe, we’ve taken a localized approach and sought to become part of the fabric of society here,” said Rich Waterworth, general manager for TikTok in Europe, in a press release. “This is reflected in the incredible wealth of local content.”

But TikTok’s future in the U.S. market, where it also recently passed the 100 million active monthly user mark, remains under a cloud, with ByteDance pursuing a partnership, rather than an outright sale, to Redwood Shores, California-based Oracle.

President Donald Trump, citing privacy and security concerns over links between ByteDance and the Chinese government, has threatened to shut down TikTok in the U.S. unless its local operations are sold to an American company.

The Trump administration originally set a deadline of Sept. 15, but a separate, executive order by the president has indicated a November deadline, while TikTok appears to be following yet another deadline of Sept. 20.

However, whether the proposed partnership with Oracle will pass muster with U.S. officials remains to be seen.

In a cryptic, two-sentence statement, Oracle confirmed that it is “part of the proposal submitted by ByteDance to the Treasury Department over the weekend, in which Oracle will serve as the trusted technology provider.”

Meanwhile, TikTok continues to invest in its European operations, with plans to spend more than $500 million to build a data center in Ireland by 2022. TikTok said it will hire hundreds of workers for the new data center, which will “ultimately become the home of European user data.”

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