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Former Barclays boss Bob Diamond set to chair Tiktok rival Triller

Tiktok rival Triller - previously backed by artists such as The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar - has faced accusations of inflating user numbers.
Tiktok rival Triller - previously backed by artists such as The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar - has faced accusations of inflating user numbers.

Former Barclays boss Bob Diamond is set to chair a social media startup challenging Tiktok’s dominance.

Diamond’s move to video platform startup Triller, which artists such as Snoop Dogg, The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar have previously backed – is a significant departure from banking. He resigned from Barclays in 2012 amid the Libor rate-rigging scandal.

AGBA, a small US-listed financial services platform based in Hong Kong, bought Triller in an all-share deal earlier this month. Diamond, who has chaired AGBA since September, will continue in the job for the new combined company.

Since the announcement of the deal, shares in AGBA have surged by more than 400 percent.

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LA-headquartered Triller is valued at over $3bn despite generating only $36m in revenue and holding less than $1m in cash reserves last year.

But the startup has faced accusations of inflating user numbers, which it has rejected, and legal action from major music labels like Universal and Sony for unpaid royalties. The claim has since been settled.

It comes amid increasing scrutiny on Chinese-owned app Tiktok in the US, where a proposed ban is steaming ahead.

Last week, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill that requires Tiktok’s Chinese parent company to sell the app’s hugely popular US operations or face a ban.

Wing-Fai-Ng, group president of AGBA, who will become chief executive of the combined group, told the Financial Times he considered Diamond “like family” after knowing him for over a decade.

“We believe there is a massive opportunity in social media, in video sharing coming out in the United States in the next year or so and we believe that Triller is by far and away the best positioned company to take advantage of that,” Ng said.