TikTok, a short video app owned by ByteDance, sacked its entire India crew early this week, people familiar with the situation told ET on Thursday.
According to them, up to 40 workers were issued pink slips on Monday after receiving a call and were informed they would get up to nine months of severance pay.
“The TikTok India employees were told that February 28 would be their last day and were given feelers to look out for other opportunities for some time as it was conveyed that restarting India operations was not going to take off because of the government’s stance on Chinese apps,” one of the sources who did not wish to be named told ET.
Several employees at the India office were primarily focused on the markets of Dubai and Brazil after the government banned TikTok and roughly 300 other Chinese applications in stages beginning in June 2020, citing national security concerns.
ByteDance did not respond to emailed inquiries until the end of the day on Thursday.
TikTok had more than 200 million subscribers in India at the time, and the nation was considered its largest overseas market.
Following the demise of the app, competitor Meta-owned Instagram launched Reels, its own short-form video tool that has proven profitable for the social networking site.
TikTok’s Sameer Singh, who joined the platform in 2019 to drive monetisation in India, was promoted to head of global business solutions in North America earlier this month, according to ET.
As the platform withdrew from India, Singh was in charge of business solutions throughout Southeast Asia.
His entry into the North American market comes at a time when the American government is closely scrutinising TikTok, and calls for a blanket ban have been prevalent.
According to his LinkedIn page, Singh began his present position in January.
From July 2021 until January 2023, he was the head of global business solutions for APAC, where he was in charge of leading sales and business marketing solutions across all TikTok business products in the area.