SoftBank Group Corp is reportedly looking for partnerships with local players in India, planning to buy TikTok India. The bidders’ group in talks with SoftBank includes Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel.
The Japanese conglomerate, already an investor in TikTok’s parent company ByteDance earlier, brought a group of bidders led by Walmart to buy TikTok’s business in the U.S. However, the consortium fell apart after U.S. national security policy dictated that a tech company should lead the deal. Walmart teamed up with Microsoft and Google, declaring its noninterest in TikTok.
Recent news on its plans to buy the TikTok India could augur well with SoftBank and its local telco partners. TikTok India is estimated to be worth between $3 billion and $5 billion compared to between $20 billion and $30 billion for TikTok US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Further, TikTok India is the app’s biggest market, outside China, with over 2000 million users and immense growth potential.
On the other hand, the company will have to iron out regulatory concerns towards TikTok. India’s government banned Tiktok among, and close to 200 other Chinese applications following privacy concerns as tensions between India and China escalate. Besides, Reliance Jio, one of the SoftBank consortium members, earlier expressed interest in buying the video-sharing app’s Indian business.
SoftBank has other investments in India, backing startups like e-commerce Snapdeal.com, ride-hailing app Ola cabs, and hotel booking app Oyo rooms.