Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Last year, escalating tensions between neighboring countries India and China had witnessed the ban of over 200 Chinese apps from the Indian market. One of the many apps to have faced the axe was popular short video-sharing platform TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance. Well, if you are still hoping that the app returns, we have some bad news. TikTok India’s CEO Nikhil Gandhi may be stepping down from his role and is currently serving his notice period, according to a report by IWMBuzz.

Gandhi, who has also worked with the Times Network and was with The Walt Disney Company for nine years, took over the role of TikTok Head for META (the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa) and South Asia in 2017. He was made the head of TikTok India in 2019, but after a year, the Indian government took it down (along with a host of other apps) citing concerns that it was engaged in activities that threatened the national security and defense of India.

“After paying a lot of attention to my time in ByteDance and looking at my future goals, I have made the difficult decision to leave my role,” Gandhi told IWMBuzz. “Working with Tiktok, we have seen our app usher in a new era of connection, communication and cultural appreciation,” he added.

According to the report, Daniel Habashi, General Manager, TikTok, Canada region, will serve as the interim GM of META and South Asia. Gandhi is said to be evaluating options with some leading Indian start-ups that are looking to scale operations. He has also worked in many major media and entertainment companies like Viacom Media Networks and UTV Global Broadcasting.

TikTok was one of the most popular apps in India, having recorded over 611 million downloads in the country (which counts for around 30% of TikTok’s downloads worldwide). It was present in almost 30% of all Indian smartphones, with the majority of its user base coming in the range of 18-35 years and coming from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. Users spent an average of 52 minutes per day on the app.

The ban of TikTok had created a void in the market, which was swiftly filled by homegrown short video-sharing platforms like Josh.

While many had hoped that TikTok would make a comeback in the country sooner or later, this news is not a good sign.