TikTok India CEO Nikhil Gandhi resigns one year after ban
Video sharing app TikTok's India CEO Nikhil Gandhi has reportedly resigned from his post, almost a year after the app was permanently banned in the country. An ET report suggests that for the past few months, Mumbai-based Gandhi was trying to sell TikTok's India operations. Recently, he was also reappointed as the Head of TikTok's operations in the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, and South Asia.
Gandhi joined TikTok's India operations in October 2019
Previously, Gandhi has worked with UTV Global Broadcasting, Viacom Media Networks, and served as a Vice President of Walt Disney for nine years. Later, he worked with Times Network and resigned from the company in September 2019 as President and Chief Operating Officer. His last stint was with TikTok India which he had joined in October 2019.
Reports suggest that TikTok India could be sold to Glance
Glance-owned short-video app Roposo also gained popularity after TikTok's ban in India. According to a Bloomberg report, TikTok's parent company ByteDance was considering selling TikTok's India operations to Glance, which is owned by the unicorn startup InMobi. The report also stated that talks about TikTok's sale were initiated by SoftBank, which has shareholdings in ByteDance and InMobi.
TikTok was banned in India on account of national security
Following the border tensions in Galwan Valley in 2020, India sent a notice to permanently ban 177 Chinese apps, including TikTok. As per the Indian Government, these apps were sharing user data with China, thereby impacting national security. At the time, Gandhi stated that TikTok had not shared user information with any foreign government, including the Chinese government.
TikTok seemed uncertain of continuing its India operations
Before the app was initially banned in June 2020, TikTok's largest international market was India, where it amassed 659.5 million downloads until the ban was imposed. However, in January 2021, TikTok's parent company ByteDance began laying off almost 2,000 Indian employees stating that it had worked tirelessly to avoid these mass layoffs since June but failed to do so as the app remained non-functional.
TikTok's India ban created opportunities for other short video apps
Facebook-owned Instagram started a 30-second video feature called Reels to offer an alternative to TikTok's 200 million users. After a year of testing, YouTube also rolled out its TikTok clone called Shorts, which offers a 60-second long video format similar to TikTok. Netflix had also launched a similar feature called Fast Laughs consisting of short stand-up comedy clips handpicked from its comedy repertoire.