Chinese giant ByteDance is engaging with India’s Reliance Industries Limited, the parent firm of telecom giant Jio Platforms, for investment in TikTok’s India operations in a move to potentially save the short form video app’s fate in its biggest market by users, two people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.
The two companies began conversations late last month and have yet to reach a deal, the sources said. TikTok’s business in India, where it had amassed over 200 million users before it was banned in late June, is being valued at more than $3 billion, one of the sources said.
ByteDance did not respond to a request for comment. Reliance said it does not comment on speculation and rumor.
An investment in TikTok could help the oil-to-retails giant Reliance, the most valuable firm in India, make deeper connections with consumers. Even as Jio Platforms has amassed nearly 400 million users in India in less than four years of its existence, its consumer-facing apps have struggled to replicate that appeal.
Since late April this year, Indian giant’s digital venture has raised about $20 billion from 13 high-profile investors including Facebook and Google.
The preliminary talks between the two companies comes as ByteDance struggles to retain some key employees in India. A handful of high-level executives at the company including a policy head and Rohan Mishra, who oversaw Helo app’s operations in India have left the company in recent weeks. Mishra did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday noon.
ByteDance is separately engaging to sell the company’s business in select markets including the U.S. with Microsoft, the Windows-maker confirmed earlier this month. Financial Times reported last week that the two companies had broaden the scope of the deal to include TikTok’s business in other markets including Europe and India.
This is a developing story…