INTRO: SoftBank Group is reportedly in talks with Reliance Jio Infocomm and Airtel to bid for TikTok’s India operations. That’s consistent with a replacement Bloomberg report citing sources conversant in the matter. A separate TechCrunch report last month had revealed Reliance Industries’ interest to take a position in TikTok India.
As per Bloomberg’s sources, SoftBank is preparing to assemble a gaggle of bidders to potentially take over TikTok India and resume the company’s operations within the country. just in case you didn’t know already, SoftBank may be a stakeholder in TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.
The report suggests that SoftBank has shown interest in negotiations despite holding a minor stake in ByteDance. the Japanese multinational conglomerate brought Walmart during a group of investors including Google’s Alphabet. That effort didn’t materialize since the U.S. government reportedly wanted a US company to steer the investments. Since then, Google has expressed that it’s not curious about the deal, while Walmart teamed up with Microsoft within the bid.
TikTok had almost 200 million users before it got banned. Alongside TikTok, the Indian government banned 58 other apps citing national security reasons. Earlier in the week, the govt banned yet one more set of 118 apps including popular battle royale PUBG Mobile.
We will need to wait to ascertain if SoftBank’s involvement within the negotiations would help lift TikTok’s ban in India. Now that TikTok is out of the race for the foreseeable future, several TikTok-like apps have gained traction to fill the void, with the most important one being Instagram’s in-app Reels. Instagram goes all-in with its efforts to duplicate the functionalities of TikTok and repose on it.