ByteDance, the parent company behind TikTok, has shuttered its Indian edtech business— Snapsolve, according to a report in TechCrunch. The division employed more than three dozen people in the country and most of them have been given the pink slip, the report added.
The news website did not specify a reason behind the move but revealed that the company had been engaged in a weeks-long discussion about moving the team to work with the European edtech team.
ByteDance was one of the biggest casualties of the geopolitical dispute between India and China. It had invested heavily in India and the shuttering of another vertical might be an indicator that the company has written off its prospects in India.
What is Snapsolve?
Snapsolve is a platform where students can upload pictures of their maths problems and obtain solutions from Class VI through XII, according to its website. It also offers doubt-solving solutions in subjects like physics, chemistry, and biology, among others. Some of its competitors include Photomath and Doubtnut.
ByteDance will only have one division remaining, its music streaming service Resso, post the closure of Snapsolve. The company describes Resso as “a new music service for the next generation of music enthusiasts, offering an enhanced music discovery platform”.
Resso escaped India’s Chinese app ban as there was a lack of awareness about the app, and due to the absence of marketing initiatives by ByteDance, Economic Times said in its report. Resso was launched in March 2020 and generated 1.8 million downloads across the App Store and Google Play Store in India between October 1- November 23, 2020, as per data in the ET report.
TechCrunch also confirmed that ByteDance employees had been directed to not talk about the businesses publicly.
Lowdown on ByteDance’s problems in India
ByteDance was rising rapidly on the back of TikTok’s growing popularity in India but its hopes were dashed when the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology decided to block 267 apps, all from Chinese companies based on information that these apps are “engaged in activities which [are] prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
The blocking order has been issued under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act. TikTok had more than 200 million users at the time of its ban. It was earning nearly 20-25 crore in advertising revenue by the second quarter of 2019.
Some of the names on the list include:
- UC Browser
- Club Factory
- QQ Mail
- Cam Scanner
The tech conglomerate had to scale down its workforce in India when it became clear that the ban will not be revoked soon. The company did not disclose the total number of affected employees. The permanent ban was followed by the blocking of its two bank accounts by India’s tax authorities in response to allegations of tax evasion, as per Reuters. ByteDance was forced to knock on the door of the courts to get them to overturn this decision to avoid disruptions to its operations.
ByteDance’s problems were then compounded when its India head Nikhil Gandhi quit from his post in May this year, IWMBuzz reported. The company has been on the lookout for investors to sell off the India arm of its operations.
- Once again, Pakistan overturns ban on TikTok following promises to control obscene content
- US revokes order banning TikTok, WeChat; issues new order against Chineses apps
- US Judge says Trump administration can’t ban TikTok
- IT Ministry bans another 43 apps, leading to a total of 267 banned apps since June
Have something to add? Post your comment and gift someone a MediaNama subscription.