TikTok, the popular short video app, has announced it would exit the Hong Kong market within days, after Beijing imposed a national security law that gives the city’s police the power to force internet companies to assist with investigations.
Tech giant ByteDance, which is based in the Chinese capital and owns the app, has become the first internet company to withdraw from Hong Kong, following announcements from Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Telegram, that they would pause processing law enforcement requests for user data in the city.
“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a spokesman said.
TikTok could still be downloaded via the Apple and Google app stores as of Tuesday afternoon but is expected to stop being available this week.
Last August, TikTok reported that it had 150,000 users in Hong Kong. ByteDance is the world’s most valuable start-up.
Zhang Nan, the chief executive of ByteDance China, said on Tuesday that TikTok’s Chinese version, Douyin, would continue to provide services to Hong Kong users.