News & Analysis

The TikTok Saga: A Corporate Swayamvar in the Making

As we were grappling with what to spoof next, my colleague and the show host Balakumar had  an idea. How about telling the story of TikTok? I was hesitant, not because I am anti-China or a part of any pressure group asking for a ban on Chinese products. In fact, I love the stuff that we get from across our eastern border, simply because I can afford them! 

Anyway, having decided to move ahead with the topic, now came the tough part as there wasn’t much that we could glean from the media reports. Why? Because Bytedance, the company that owns TikTok isn’t exactly Chinese. Why? Because they don’t have TikTok circulating in mainland China – no, I am not referring to that exotic food joint in some of our cities. 

You think that’s funny? Well, try typing mainland China on google and see what results crop up at the top! And, just in case you actually get to see the Wikipedia page devoted to the Chinese geography, suffice to say that you’re not part of the gastronomic gang that pervades the internet. 

Anyways, coming back to TikTok, we discussed the reasons why Microsoft or Twitter would be vying to buy their US business. Maybe, they just want to needle President Donald Trump whose luck with the Chinese is worse than Virat Kohli’s with the toss. Come to think of it, maybe that’s not true, because we are sure the US President would love many of India’s TikTok stars. Why? Because they make as little sense to the rest of us as Trump does to half of America. 

And just when we had finished recording our latest episode of Bits & Banter, news came that our very own Mukesh Bhai of Reliance (or is it Jio Platforms) is keen to get his hands on TikTok because… well this is where we are stumped too. Why would you pay $3 billion for something that you can create overnight, just as they did with Jio Meet and Jio Chat? 

While we do not know the real reason for Jio’s interest in the India business of TikTok, we did hear a wicked comment on social media that Reliance wants to do exactly what the Chinese have been doing all this while. Copy products from other countries, mass-produce it locally and export it across the world. Well Played Mukesh Bhai! 

Watch the full video right here and leave your bouquets and brickbats in the comments section so that we can improve. As we keep reiterating, we cannot get any worse! 

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