Reuters reported that China opposes the forced sale of TikTok operations in the United States by the Chinese company “ByteDance” and it prefers to close the application instead.
“ByteDance” has been in talks to sell “TikTok” businesses in the United States to potential buyers, including Microsoft and Oracle, since US President Donald Trump threatened last month to block the service unless the sale was made. Trump gave “ByteDance” a deadline in mid-September to complete the deal.
Chinese officials believe that the forced sale will make both “ByteDance” and China appear weak in the face of Washington’s pressure, according to Reuters sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
“ByteDance” said in a statement to Reuters that the Chinese government had never suggested that it close “TikTok” in the United States, or in any other markets.
Two sources said that China plans to use reviews of its technology export list on August 28 to delay any deal “ByteDance” has reached if it has already struck a deal.
In response to a question about Trump’s stance on “TikTok” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Legian said, in a regular press conference, that the United States is misusing the concept of national security and urged it to stop cracking down on foreign companies.
Reuters had previously reported that potential buyers of “TikTok” were discussing 4 ways to structure the “ByteDance” acquisition. One of those methods is for the latter to proceed with selling US “TikTok” assets without the approval of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce by selling them without major algorithms.
US officials criticized the security and privacy of “TikTok” pointing to the possibility of sharing user data with Beijing. The company said it would not comply with any request to share user data with the Chinese authorities.
Beijing said it strongly opposes Trump’s executive orders, and on August 28, it moved to give its opinion on the process and to review the list of technologies that will need approval from the Chinese government before they are exported. The experts said that the recommendation algorithm for “TikTok” would fall under this list.