TikTok plots new London headquarters despite Chinese security row

Linda J. Dodson

The company has also been building a UK advertising operation. It hired Antonia Rofagha, the former head of online advertising policy for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, as its new head of European advertising policy in March and in June, it added Gerald Blee from Amazon to serve as TikTok’s global head of advertising policy.

Industry sources said TikTok was targeting younger MPs to plead its case. Earlier this month, it held a meeting with Dehenna Davison, the Conservative MP for Bishop Auckland and one of the youngest members in the Commons.

She said the meeting was about “what steps are being taken to ensure users are kept safe, how we as policymakers can support this, and how other MPs and I can engage with new audiences”.

Insiders say TikTok is carrying out a beauty parade of major property advisers before settling on a consultant to lead its expansion in the capital this year. The company’s UK employees have for months been headquartered at a WeWork co-working office in Holborn.

The hunt comes amid questions over its future in Western countries. Late last week, it emerged that the Trump administration was considering placing sanctions on TikTok which would prevent many Americans from being able to access the app.

Concerns centre around whether the app’s Chinese ownership allows Beijing free access to personal data collected on Western users, many of whom are under 18.

The expansion of TikTok’s UK headquarters comes amid growing scrutiny over the use of Chinese technology in the UK. 

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