Who is behind TikTok? They are the owners of ByteDance, the Chinese parent company that the US accuses of being a spy

Has the end of TikTok in the United States come? This Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed a bill approved by the Senate that puts the most popular app of the moment in a predicament: either it is sold to someone else or it will have to face a total ban in the North American country.

This week, the US Congress gave the green light to the measure citing national security concerns due to suspected platform links with Chinawhich has made many wonder who owns TikTok and what is the story behind this social network.

TikTok belongs to the Chinese company ByteDance, a technology company created by Zhang Yiming, one of the richest men in the world. According to Forbes, his fortune amounts to 43 thousand 400 million dollars.

Its CEO is Shou Chew, who recently appeared before the Energy and Commerce Committee of the United States House of Representatives and clarified several doubts about the origin and operation of the application, including who are the real owners of TikTok.

Who is the current owner of TikTok?

When questioned about the nationality of the owners of the application and its parent company, ByteDancethe CEO of TikTok made some clarifications.

First, he said that TikTok has never operated in mainland Chinasince it has its offices in Singapore and The Angelsalthough he admitted that the founders of the conglomerate are of Chinese origin.

ByteDance was founded in 2012 in Beijing by Zhang Yiming and Liang Rubo, who were roommates at Nankai University in Tianjin. According to company information, in September 2016, ByteDance launched into the Chinese market Douyina short video music app that had been developed in just 200 days.

In just one year, Douyin It garnered 100 million users with one billion views on videos no longer than 15 seconds, every day. In China, they kept the original name, but its owners decided to rename it to make the international leap, renaming it TikTok.

In 2021, Zhang announced he was stepping down as ByteDance CEO, handing the reins to Liang; However, he still maintains a 20 percent stake in the company.

The majority of it (60 percent) is owned by global institutional investors such as Carlyle Group, General Atlantic and Susquehanna International Group, while the other 20 percent is owned by employees located around the world. Furthermore, Chew indicated that three of the five members of the board of directors of the company They are americans.

Is TikTok a Chinese company?

According to documents cnnthe short video app was first legally incorporated in April 2015. The app is owned by TikTok LLCa limited liability company incorporated in Delaware based in Culver City, California; However, it is controlled by TikTok Ltdwhich is registered in the Cayman Islands and has its headquarters in Shanghai.

After buying your rival Musical.ly and merging it with its main platform, ByteDance developed TikTok as a global short video product and formally launched it in May 2017. It became available in 150 countries and 75 languages ​​in 2018.

The CEO of TikTok has explained that it is not a Chinese app, but rather a “global nature”. He also assured that it is not owned or controlled by the Chinese government; However, according to US media, ByteDance has an internal committee of the Communist Party made up of employees who are members.

Why do they want to ban TikTok in the United States?

For four years, US lawmakers have reiterated their warning to ban TikTok within North American territory, arguing that it has potential risks to national security and alluding above all to his Chinese origin and the suspicions of espionage by the East Asian nation.

Both congressmen and security experts have pointed out the possibility that China could use this app to access sensitive data of its 170 million American usersor, to spread propaganda, so that it can influence them by eliminating or promoting certain content.

The law signed today by President Biden gives TikTok a period of up to nine months to find another owner, although the president can grant a one-time extension of 90 days to extend this period to one year.

TikTok said this Wednesday that it will take the law passed by the United States Congress to court and defended the investment it has made of “billions of dollars to keep data safe” of Americans.

“This unconstitutional law means a ban on TikTok and we will challenge it in court. “We believe that the facts and the law are clearly on our side, and that we will ultimately prevail,” the company said in a statement.