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TikTok scales down India operations; read full text of mail to staff

It is not clear how many employees have been let go.

January 27, 2021 / 12:58 PM IST

ByteDance, the company which owns the app TikTok, said today that it was scaling down its India operations. This follows the Indian government banning many Chinese apps, including TikTok, last year.

“We simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while our apps remain un-operational,” TikTok CEO Vaness Pappas, and the company’s Vice President Blake Chandlee, said in a jointly signed mail to its 2000-odd employees in India.

It is not clear how many employees have been let go.

Here is the full text of the joint mail by Vaness Pappas and Blake Chandlee, sent to ByteDance employees in India:

Dear All,

We write this note to you today to share some difficult decisions that we have had to make regarding ByteDance in India. For a number of you reading this, we realise it will be even more painful to receive. For this, we are sorry.

In 2020, due to an interim ban issued by the Government of India, we were forced to close some of our businesses. This came despite our commitment to comply with local laws and regulations. We have done our best since then to address their concerns. We regret that this was the result of a lack of clear direction from the Government of India on how and when our apps could be reinstated. Despite our efforts to communicate with them, especially since it impacts the careers and livelihoods of so many Indians, today we are forced to reduce the size of our team.

We initially hoped that this situation would be short-lived and that we would be able to resolve this quickly. Seven months later, we find that has not been the case. Many of you have patiently waited to hear how this would play out, which has been very stressful. Thank you for your continued belief and trust in us.

As you can imagine, a decision of this magnitude is not easy. For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We've cut expenses, while still paying benefits.

However, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while our apps remain un-operational.

We are fully aware of the impact that this decision has for all of our employees in India, and we empathize with our team. These reductions are not in any way a reflection of the quality of those impacted, nor their work. It is simply a function of the changes we must make in line with the current situation. For those impacted, we will share severance and benefits details

Thank you for your dedication, patience, and understanding during these difficult times. We know that these changes will be challenging. It will take time for all of us to process this information and its impact.

For those who will be affected by this decision, we want to thank you for all that you have done for our company and our users. I wish there were words to lessen today's pain Your contributions are a permanent part of this great company and today's news does not change that. We are extremely thankful for all that you have done for this team and this mission. We hope that at some point you will look back on all of it with immense pride

While we don't know when we will make a comeback in India, we are confident in our resilience, and desire to do so in times to come.

Until then, please stay well and safe,

Vanessa Pappas & Blake Chandlee

In its official statement to the press, Tik Tok said: “We have worked steadfastly to comply with the Government of India order issued on June 29, 2020. We continually strive to make our apps comply with local laws and regulations and do our best to address any concerns they have. It is therefore disappointing that in the ensuing seven months, despite our efforts we have not been given a clear direction on how and when our apps could be reinstated. It is deeply regretful that after supporting our 2000+ employees in India for more than half a year, we have no choice but to scale back the size of our workforce. We look forward to receiving the opportunity to relaunch TikTok and support the hundreds of millions of users, artists, story-tellers, educators and performers in India.”

Source: CNBC-TV18

first published: Jan 27, 2021 12:58 pm