Even as dealmakers bicker over who will actually own TikTok Global, another question has emerged : how can TikTok possibly create 25,000 new jobs in the United States?
That vow, repeated by the president on Saturday at a campaign rally in North Carolina, was part of a concession that dealmakers offered to convince President Trump to green-light a transaction in which a new board comprised of U.S. citizens would oversee a new U.S.-based company and co-owned by Oracle Corp and Walmart.
But that number left experts scratching their heads.
By comparison, Twitter employs 4,800 people. Rival Snap has a staff of almost 3,200. ByteDance, the parent of TikTok, already has about 1,000 U.S. workers.
But what would a TikTok operation employing tens of thousands look like? To start, experts say it would have to generate 14 to 19 times more revenue than it does right now to justify a workforce that size. As it stands, Reuters reported the popular video-sharing app is expected to produce about $1 billion in revenue by the end of the year.
And TikTok Global won’t need to hire big teams to work on artificial intelligence because TikTok’s current owner, ByteDance, will still own the algorithm that runs the app and will license that to the new U.S.-based company.
Plus, the head of one ad agency said TikTok could tap its $1 billion creator fund to pay TikTok influencers to make videos. It's unclear how many of these people would get paid, and how much they'd actually make.
The fate of TikTok in the U.S. remains uncertain. The latest wrinkle: China's state-backed Global Times newspaper said in an editorial that Beijing is unlikely to approve what it termed an "unfair" deal.