TikTok is withdrawing its popular short video app from Google and Apple app stores in Hong Kong, a company spokesperson told late Monday.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance Ltd., will pull out of the Hong Kong market within days. The announcement comes one week after the enactment of a controversial new national security law in Hong Kong that prompted a spate of technology companies to suspend some operations in the region while they review the new law.
“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” the TikTok spokesperson said on Monday. A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to ’s emailed request for comment. It’s not clear how the forthcoming removal of the app will affect Hong Kong users who have already downloaded it.
Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., Google, and Telegram have stopped processing user data requests from Hong Kong authorities while they review the national security law, and Apple said it is “assessing” the new law, which went into effect in Hong Kong on June 30.
The national security law is expected to give authorities in Hong Kong wide-ranging powers that analysts worry will curtail data privacy rights and online freedom there.
TikTok’s departure from Hong Kong—a small, unprofitable market for the app, according to —comes a week after its ban in India, which accounted for 30% of worldwide TikTok downloads in the first quarter of 2020.
India banned TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps last week after a violent border clash between Chinese and Indian military troops left 20 Indian soldiers dead. ByteDance may lose more than $6 billion as a result of the ban.
Several U.S. Congress members have criticized the app for allegedly storing user data on servers in China and for censoring content to comply with China’s censorship rules, charges that TikTok denied last year. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late Monday that the U.S. is “certainly looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps.
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