Under-fire Chinese app TikTok to set up European hub in Ireland – dpa international



Leinster House in Dublin, where Ireland’s parliament, or Dáil, meets. (Simon Roughneen)

DUBLIN — Video-sharing app TikTok will invest 420 million euros (500 million dollars) in a European data storage centre in Ireland, the company announced on Thursday.

The proposed hub will house European user data, according to Roland Cloutier, TikTok’s global chief information security officer, who said the move will strengthen “safeguarding and protection of TikTok user data” in a “state of the art physical and network security defence system.”

Cloutier said “hundreds” of jobs will be created – an announcement welcomed by IDA Ireland, the state investment promotion agency, as “good news.”

IDA Ireland Chief Executive Officer Martin Shanahan said IikTok’s statement “postions Ireland as an important location in the company’s global operations.”

Banned in China, US online giants Facebook, Google and Twitter have substantial operations in low-tax Ireland.

The US, Ireland’s biggest investment source, aims to force TikTok to sell its US business, with Microsoft touted as a possible buyer.

Washington contends that Chinese tech companies are security risks, citing rules that could force them to pass user data to Beijing.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, “We want to see untrusted Chinese apps removed from US app stores.” He cited “significant threats to the personal data of American citizens.”

The US is also pressing allies to block Chinese manufacturer Huawei from the roll-out of 5G mobile phone networks.

Tensions between the US and China have soared over issues including trade, the South China Sea, Hong Kong and Taiwan – and the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China but has left the US with the world’s highest death toll.

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