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TikTok focuses on London after joining tech lobby group

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Via Yahoo Finance

TikTok has become a member of Britain’s leading technology lobby group after indicating that London will be its main European hub. 

The Telegraph understands that the Chinese-owned video app has joined techUK, the trade association group whose members include Facebook, Google and Amazon.

TikTok, which lets users record 15-second clips to be shared online, has boomed in popularity, especially among younger people, and now has about 800m active users.

That popularity has, however, brought with it closer scrutiny – particularly around online safety. 

As a result TikTok has strengthened its lobbying team, announcing a number of major hires including Theo Bertram –  previously Google’s head of public policy for EMEA – who joined in late 2019; and Elizabeth Kanter, who has worked on public policy for BlackBerry, StubHub and Yahoo. 

Mr Bertram was on Friday revealed as the person in charge of TikTok’s European Union policy relations as the company joined the EU Transparency Register, which was first reported by Politico. By joining the register, TikTok is able to lobby in Europe.

The decision to appoint Mr Bertram to the post is a sign that EU policy decisions will be made out of London, and suggests the city could become its global headquarters.

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Reports late last year suggested that TikTok owner Bytedance was weighing up whether to open a global headquarters for the video-sharing app in Singapore, London, or Dublin, in a move to separate TikTok from its other Chinese operations. Such a move could help alleviate concerns over security. 

London has emerged as TikTok’s largest hub in Europe, with LinkedIn data suggesting more than 300 people work for the firm in the UK – a major leap from the seven staff it had at the end of 2018. This is well above the number of people it has in other European cities such as Berlin and Paris. 

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The company has recently embarked on a major hiring spree globally, with an internal memo suggesting it was preparing to hire 10,000 new workers by the end of this year.

In London specifically, TikTok has been expanding its teams and has some 70 job vacancies with salaries of up to £200,000 on offer for lead machine-learning engineers, according to CNBC. 

TikTok declined to comment. 

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