BEIJING • TikTok, the embattled video-sharing app that has found itself at the centre of Washington-Beijing tensions, is setting up its first data centre in Europe with a €420 million (S$682 million) investment in Ireland, the company announced yesterday.
Promising to create hundreds of jobs, improve “the safeguarding and protection of TikTok user data” and shorten loading times for users in Europe, the new data centre is expected to be operational by early 2022.
Once it goes online, European user data will be stored at that location, TikTok said.
The company established its Europe, Middle East and Africa Trust and Safety Hub in Dublin earlier in the year and said the new investment “signals our long-term commitment to Ireland”.
Its Beijing-based parent company ByteDance, the world’s most valuable start-up, has been working to distance its domestic Chinese operations from TikTok to appease overseas regulators.
It has been accused by US legislators and the Trump administration of hoovering up user data and thus creating a national security risk, and it is facing a six-week deadline to conclude a deal with Microsoft or another American company for the sale of its American operations.
It currently stores international user data on servers in the United States and Singapore.
The move to expand its operations within European Union borders is part of TikTok’s global effort to prove itself a responsible Internet citizen and a trustworthy service provider.
As part of the new data centre development, TikTok is also continuing to grow its data protection and privacy teams, the company said.