The value of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is reportedly under increasing pressure as it nears the forced sale or ban of its most valuable asset in the U.S. — and is therefore exploring its options to reenter the market in Hong Kong.
Though TikTok only accounts for about 15 percent of ByteDance’s projected revenue in 2020, the app experienced exponential growth globally as people were forced indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Its impending ban in the U.S. happens as the company just recently begun to monetize its huge base, according to Tech Crunch.
Seeking to expand into other profit channels, ByteDance, which is based in Beijing, has taken steps to move into the online stock brokerage and wealth management business in Hong Kong, Reuters reported.
This new venture comes just weeks after the company pulled its TikTok operations out of Hong Kong in response to China imposing a new national security law on the semi-autonomous city.
ByteDance was recently granted a license to operate Songshu Zhengquan, which translates to Squirrel Securities, in Hong Kong. Though a launch date is uncertain and only one employee is assigned to the project, the app would provide “computerized financial information services, stock trading, brokerage services, and stock exchange quotations.”
President Trump issued two executive orders Friday banning dealing with the Chinese owners of consumer apps TikTok and WeChat effective in 45 days, citing national security and economic threats.
It remains unclear if talks with Microsoft will result in a deal, as one unnamed source told the South China Morning Post that the price offered to purchase TikTok before an imminent ban would be like “robbing the owner when his house is on fire.” Its more recent suitor, Twitter, “just doesn’t have enough money.”