ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has reportedly ramped up its lobbying expenditure in the US according to data from US non-profit government transparency group OpenSecrets

Despite this, analysts warn that tighter regulation and possible bans will continue to loom over TikTok’s future in the US.

ByteDance spent around $8.7m in 2023 alone, which is over 70% higher than its spending on lobbying in 2022. The company currently has 14 lobbyists as of 2023, according to original reports from Japanese newspaper Nikkei

The US has already banned the use of TikTok nationwide on government devices and several states, including Montana, have also banned the app on all smartphones.  

The main motivations behind the ban are cited as national security, since the US government is concerned that data collected from users of TikTok could be leaked to the Chinese government. ByteDance has consistently stated as early as April 2023 that its board of directors are not affiliated with the Chinese government. 

TikTok’s CEO, Chew Shou Zi, stated at a congressional hearing on 31 January that TikTok had not shared any data with the Chinese government. He also confirmed that TikTok had begun investment into its Project Texas, which would firewall US TikTok user data from employees outside of the US. 

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData

Despite ByteDance’s public affirmations that it does not share US TikTok user data with the Chinese government, discussion over the regulation and possible banning of the social media platform continues to loom over the company. 

Principal analyst at research company GlobalData, Laura Petrone, shared her perspective on the efficacy of ByteDance’s ramped up lobbying expenditures.  “ByteDance’s TikTok has already been investing a lot of money on lobbying federal government officials over the last few years,” Petrone began.

“But this strategy doesn’t seem to have worked, as both companies are still the target of proposed of restrictive measures by US lawmakers or even a ban in the case of the TikTok app,” she added.

Looking ahead, Petrone remained pessimistic over the future of TikTok in the US. 

“It’ll be increasingly difficult for the Chinese companies to reassure the Congress about their independence from the Chinese authorities at a time of strained relationship [between the US and China],” she continued.

“They will need to convince Washington that their proposed solutions to US data security concerns would offer sufficient protection against Chinese laws that require companies to make use data accessible to the government,” Petrone adds.

A task that, she stated, would be incredibly difficult even with a boost in lobbying expenditure.