ByteDance Ltd., the operator of smash-hit Chinese video-sharing app TikTok, has said it plans to invest in Japanese tech firms as part of efforts to expand into the country.
The Chinese tech giant, which faces headwinds in the United States over concerns that it could pass data it collects to the Chinese government, said it plans to soon send members of its corporate venture capital team to work in its Tokyo office.
TikTok, which lets users upload short videos set to music, is a hit among young people and has seen spectacular growth during the coronavirus pandemic. It has some 800 million users worldwide.
ByteDance opened its Tokyo office in 2017 and last year joined the Japan Business Federation known as Keidanren, the country's most powerful business lobby.
It also became a member of the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association, the industrial body for tech firms, paving the way for it to strengthen ties with Japanese companies.
"We would like to actively commit to the Japanese market," a company official said. The Beijing-based firm has yet to invest in a Japanese company.
In 2020, the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump attempted to ban TikTok from U.S. app stores citing national security concerns, but a federal district court ordered an injunction over the plan.
Some ruling party lawmakers in Japan have called for restricting the use of apps developed by Chinese companies due to security concerns, alluding to TikTok among others.
Among other Chinese tech companies, a wholly owned unit of IT giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. last year acquired a 20 percent stake in Japanese online game producer Marvelous Inc., listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.