TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, has faced questions over its relationship with the Chinese state as it has rapidly grown in popularity.
Bytedance has repeatedly insisted that it would not share TikTok user data from outside China with the Chinese government, but the new law would have forced it to do so.
TikTok has quit Hong Kong, pulling the viral video app from stores.
The decision comes after the passing of a new national security law that requires technology companies to have hand over and control data about users in Hong Kong. But it also removes a platform that has become key for activists, who have used it to post videos of protests and supporting their fight for an independent Hong Kong.
The company did not specify why it was removing the app from Hong Kong, only indicating in a statement that the decision came “in light of recent events”.
The decision will come into effect in the coming days, according to Reuters, which first reported the news. It is not clear how exactly it will affect users who are already on the app – even if it is removed from the app stores, users will still have it on their phones, though TikTok may choose to stop people within Hong Kong from being able to access its servers.
The app had some 150,000 users in Hong Kong, it said last year, making up only a very small proportion of the more than two billion people who are said to have downloaded the app.
A number of companies – including Facebook, Twitter and Google – have publicly opposed the new law. Some, such as WhatsApp, have already announced that they will not respond to