Viral short form video platform TikTok is pushing ahead with plans to hire 100 new staff in Australia by the end of the year despite heightened geopolitical tensions and government concerns about its links to the Chinese Communist Party.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese technology giant ByteDance, opened its first local office in June and was quickly scrutinised by the federal government and security agencies for its links to the Chinese government.
Online searches shows the company has publicly advertised for at least 20 vacant roles but multiple industry sources said TikTok was on a hiring spree for another 100 roles in Australia by December. Most of the roles being recruited for are in media strategy and marketing. Some of the roles include looking for trends and creators and helping them grow.
A TikTok spokesperson said the company was spending more on local users and brands.
“As we work to build a positive and safe environment for users, our focus is on continuing to grow our local operations and invest in our growing community,” the spokesperson said. “This includes hiring the right local talent to support the Australian TikTok community across the content, operations and commercial side of the business.”
The company has denied claims its ties to China put user data at risk, saying its global app, TikTok, is separate to its functionally identical Chinese app, Douyin, and no Australian data is sent to the Chinese government.
One of the reasons TikTok is building its local operation is because of a major spike in user growth in Australia. Data released by analytics firm Roy Morgan earlier this month said almost 2.5 million Australians were using TikTok, an increase of 52.4 per cent from the first half of 2020. It is currently the fastest growing social media company in Australia based on user growth. TikTok has also become a member of telco industry body, Communications Alliance.
The growth of TikTok in Australian market comes at a difficult time for the platform which has become a political sorespot in several countries, including the US and Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison ordered an investigation into the potential security threats posed by TikTok and apps used primarily by the Chinese diaspora such as WeChat in July but declined to follow other countries in banning either app. The investigation came at a time when India had banned TikTok and after US President Donald Trump gave Chinese company ByteDance 45 days to divest its US operations or be effectively banned from the market.
A deal for software giant Oracle and giant US retailer Walmart to acquire stakes in the US operations of TikTok was struck but has since stalled. The TikTok ban has been paused by a US court pending legal challenges.
TikTok’s plans to establish a presence in Australia were first revealed by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in February. The company started looking to expand its local presence last year by using representatives from China to scout the market for local content creators.
This article was originally published by the Sydney Morning Herald. Read the original here.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.