TikTok parent company to open data centre in India

TikTok parent company to open data centre in India

Representative image. Photo credit: AFP

The Chinese parent company of popular video app TikTok will set up a data centre in India, as privacy concerns prompt Indian regulators to push for greater domestic storage of information.

The app has more than 120 million users in India, a majority of them teenagers who use it to post 15-second quirky videos but has drawn criticism for storing data in Singapore and the United States.

Parent firm ByteDance, which also owns social media platform Helo, said in a statement emailed to AFP on Monday it was "in the process of examining options for safe, secure and reliable services for our Indian users within Indian borders".

The statement comes as New Delhi -- the capital of the world's fastest-growing internet market -- accuses foreign firms of data "colonisation" and urges them to store their data in India rather than at offshore sites.

Regulators say data localisation is critical to ensuring accountability and to protecting the privacy of India's 1.3 billion citizens.

An Indian lawmaker has accused the app of breaching privacy laws by illegally sharing data with the Chinese government.

The government has also questioned the firm over its alleged misuse of their platforms for "anti-national activities".

In April, TikTok was briefly banned by an Indian court over claims it was promoting pornography among children.

The app has already been banned in neighbouring Bangladesh and was hit with an enormous fine in the United States for illegally collecting information from children.

The company has refuted the allegations, saying they abide by local privacy laws.