UK PM Approves TikTok HQ In London

( British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the interesting move this week to support the establishment of a global headquarters for Chinese social media app TikTok in England’s capital city. The decision comes as President Donald Trump encourages software giant Microsoft to make a big to purchase the social media app and remove all connections to Chinese data centers.

Despite total uncertainty over whether the app will even be purchased by Microsoft, Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved the establishment of TikTok’s HQ in London. It also comes after the British government made a U-turn on its original position of allowing Chinese-owned telecoms company Huawei to play a role in the establishment of the UK’s 5G infrastructure. Boris Johnson changed his mind after months of rising tensions between the communist state and various other Western nations.

The Sun newspaper, a British tabloid paper, reported on Sunday that the British government has already approved the move and the arrangement will be announced officially sometime this week.

On Monday, President Trump walked back his promise to ban TikTok in the United States by suggesting that he was open to Microsoft, or other tech companies based in the United States, purchasing the app. He said on Monday that he would allow Bytedance, the Chinese company that owns the app, to sell it to Microsoft within 45 days. If a deal is not struck within that time – and if the deal does not include a substantial payment to the United States Treasury – then the app would be banned in the United States.

Microsoft has confirmed that acquisition talks were reopened with the company after a conversation with the president, and that Microsoft would respect the request to pay a large sum to the Treasury. President Trump said that the Treasury payment was fair as the American government helped facilitate the deal.

The decision to allow TikTok’s HQ to be built in London has not been met with universal support. Conservative Member of Parliament Neil O’Brien, who is the co-founder of the China Research Group, said that the British intelligence services should investigate TikTok before allowing the move.

“It would be useful for the government to use the kind of specialists in cyber-security that only it has access to, to give us a definitive view of whether the app is safe,” he said. “If it its, we should welcome investment by TikTok in the country. But if there are problems, as some media reports have suggested, with either political interference in its algorithms and the content that’s shown or about where the data is ending up and a lack of security, well that would raise a bunch of other questions.

If Microsoft goes ahead with a deal, it looks like many of those issued would be resolved pretty quickly.