During the past month, the Government had banned several mobile applications with Chinese origins. While the official motive behind the move was data security, the bans were looked at as a move to tackle increasing Chinese aggression around the Line Of Actual Control. These bans now seemed to have served their intended purpose, with PUBG’s South Korean parent enterprise ditching their Chinese partner and looking for a new Indian partner to get the game back on its feet in India.
If rumours are to be believed, PUBG’s parent organization, South Korea based Bluehole Gaming, is in advanced stages of negotiation with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm. The partnership, if successful, would not be anything new for Jio as they have in the past already tied up with Bluehole Gaming in the past to offer exclusive deals on PUBG Lite, a lighter version of the game developed by Bluehole to cater to Indian gamers with slower internet connections.
This comes as a feather in the cap of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as it has not only caused a direct negative economic impact to China but also managed to pull China’s share of revenue back to India, proving that the series of app bans have worked.
Post-TikTok’s ban in India, the United States had followed suit and issued a strict warning to TikTok and similar Chinese applications operating in the USA to comply with data privacy norms. As tensions between the USA and China are on the rise, US President Donald Trump has already warned China that he would not hesitate to completely ban Chinese applications.
To avoid any adverse effect due to such a ban, China-based ByteDance, which is the parent organization of TikTok is in talks with software giant Oracle Inc. to sell rights to the run the application outside China. The deal has been finalized at $4.5 billion but is subject to approval by President Trump himself. If speculation is to be believed, President Trump is expected to reject the deal as he expected an American organization to acquire the entire application itself, while Oracle has only proposed to acquire non-China rights for TikTok.
Whether the deal goes through or not, this will come as a massive blow to ByteDance as the deal valued at $4.5 billion is much below the expected market value, even for the non-China rights. For reference, Facebook had acquired WhatsApp way back in 2014 for a staggering $19 billion and compared to TikTok, WhatsApp had a significantly lower user base and at the time had no foreseeable revenue model to make themselves profitable.
Even though TikTok remains an extremely profitable venture in the long run and has achieved outstanding user acquisition and retention in the past year, the non-China right seems to be valued only at a meagre $4.5 billion.