The TikTok video sharing application, threatened with ban in the United States, announced Thursday the upcoming opening in Ireland of its first data center in Europe for its users on this continent. TikTok, owned by Chinese ByteDance, will invest 420 million euros in this center which will be operational in early 2022, according to a press release. So far, the data of its users is stored in the United States and Singapore.
This announcement comes at a time when the application, very popular with young people, is at the heart of economic and diplomatic tensions between China and the United States. Donald Trump put pressure on the Chinese group ByteDance to sell TikTok, to Microsoft or to another American company before mid-September, on pain of no longer being able to operate in the United States. Washington has accused TikTok for months of being used by Chinese intelligence services for surveillance purposes. The platform has always firmly denied any data sharing with the Chinese authorities and recalls that its data centers are located outside of China.
A move to head office in London?
In its press release Thursday, TikTok assures us that the establishment of these new facilities in Ireland will create hundreds of new jobs and will benefit its users by speeding up video loading times. TikTok already has teams in Ireland, including its data protection officer for Europe, which it intends to further strengthen in the future.
ByteDance had also confided to study the possibility of moving the headquarters of TikTok outside the United States given the pressure from the authorities. British media have reported on a potential relocation of the company to London, which TikTok has never confirmed.