Bytedance Plans To Spend “Billions Of Dollars” In S’pore – How Does This Exactly Benefit Us?

ByteDance, parent company of viral video-sharing app TikTok, is planning to make Singapore its springboard to the rest of Asia as part of its global expansion, according to private sources.
The sources also revealed that the Beijing-based company has plans to spend billions of dollars and add hundreds of jobs here over the next three years.
The Chinese technology startup is currently the most valuable startup in the world at US$140 billion, and is also behind popular platforms Toutiao and TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin.
The move comes at a time when tensions have risen to an all-time high as Bytedance is forced to sell TikTok operations in the US under pressure from the Trump administration. They are currently in talks with cloud infrastructure platform Oracle for the deal.
The UK government is also under pressure from the US to end Bytedance’s presence in the UK.
Previously, India has banned over 50 Chinese apps including popular messaging app WeChat and TikTok, on the grounds of national security and privacy issues.
Following the setbacks in the US, UK and India, it seems that Bytedance wants to turn its focus to Asia, and is planning to make Singapore its gateway to this part of the world.
Bytedance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming has long eyed Southeast Asia’s 650 million increasingly smartphone-savvy population, but why Singapore and what does this move mean for us?
Singapore is highly attractive to investors because of our developed infrastructure, political stability, open business policies, a skilled workforce, the use of English as the main working language and respect for intellectual property rights.
Last year, it retained its position as the second best place to do business in a World Bank ranking.
We came ahead of Hong Kong, Denmark and Korea, with the US, Georgia, UK, Norway, and Sweden rounding out the top 10 spots. The top spot went to New Zealand.
Singapore, which also has a robust startup scene, is currently home to at least five unicorns – Grab, Lazada, Razer, Trax and Sea (before it went public).
It makes sense for Bytedance to make Singapore its beachhead in order to expand to other parts of Asia as Singapore is a “neutral” country.
In 2019, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said that Singapore would resolutely stick to its policy of maintaining good ties with the US and China even as the two major powers remained at loggerheads.
Singapore has strong security ties with the US as Singapore purchases advanced equipment from the US, and the Singapore Armed Forces train with their American counterparts.
At the same time, Singapore also has deep economic ties with China – with the two countries joining hands in three major joint projects in China.
With pressures from both sides to take a stand, Singapore will continue not to take sides between US and China to avoid misunderstandings.
With that, we can say that it is relatively safe for a Chinese company to set up their base here.
ByteDance already has a presence here in Singapore as they had set up their Singapore team in a WeWork coworking office in December 2018.
A year later, it was speculated that ByteDance would be leasing a whopping 60,000 sq ft space in One Raffles Quay, a Grade A office building located in the central business district (CBD).
Wall Street Journal also confirmed with real estate consultancy Savills Singapore that the firm has indeed already taken up two floors in the prime location.
Moreover, they have been actively hiring in Singapore on ByteDance and TikTok’s careers pages for a range of positions.
It is safe to say that they have “tested the waters” here and probably find Singapore a viable location to continue doing business.
Following setbacks in India, the UK and US, Bytedance will make use of this move to take their social media services deeper into Asia and expand beyond TikTok, Singapore-headquartered business messaging service Lark and music streaming service Resso.
Southeast Asia’s 650 million increasingly smartphone-savvy population offers many opportunities for Bytedance to grow a stronger presence for their other content platforms here.
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