American Private Equity and TikTok / ByteDance

NYT, 7/15/2020: TikTok Enlists Army of Lobbyists as Suspicions Over China Ties Grow

ByteDance has also tapped its prominent investors for help. General Atlantic, whose chief executive, William E. Ford, sits on ByteDance’s board, has been advising TikTok on lobbying strategy, and SoftBank, which invested in ByteDance in 2018, has suggested new Washington hires in the past, said two people familiar with the matter.

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In meetings with lawmakers, lobbyists insist that the app is mainly for entertainment and is not the type of content that is normally targeted for government surveillance, according to two people with knowledge of TikTok’s lobbying activities. They point out that the most popular clips are by young influencers like 16-year-old dancer Charli D’Amelio of Connecticut, who has 70 million followers.

The company has also highlighted its American investors, like the Chinese arm of the venture capital firm Sequoia and the private equity firms KKR and General Atlantic, said one person familiar with the matter.