ByteDance says Beijing will have to approve TikTok’s US deal

19-Sep-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The Chinese government will need to clear a proposed deal between Oracle Corp and ByteDance over TikTok’s US operation, according to the Beijing-based start-up on Thursday, further complicating its effort to keep the popular short video-sharing service from getting banned by the Trump administration.

“An outright sale of operations and technology is not included in the proposal [to the Trump administration] and a final deal has not been signed,” said ByteDance in a Chinese statement released to multiple state media, “In accordance with the laws, the final deal will need approval from relevant authorities in China and the US.”

The company’s comments follow the findings made by the multi-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States that the proposed Oracle deal, in which the US tech company will serve as “trusted technology provider” and manage TikTok’s US user data, was not enough to address security concerns over how the service handles all the information from its roughly 100 million users in the country, according to a Bloomberg report.

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Dismissing widespread speculation about the fate of TikTok in the US, ByteDance said: “The truth is that we are in talks with some companies about collaboration to address concerns on American user data security.”

A ByteDance representative declined to comment on Thursday.

Getting Beijing’s go-ahead on any US deal for TikTok has cast more uncertainty on ByteDance being able to meet a September 20 deadline to divest its US business or get the service banned under Trump’s executive order.

China’s Ministry of Commerce last month added 23 items, including technologies that power TikTok’s personalised short video feed, on its restricted list.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview on CNBC on Monday that Oracle had made “a commitment to create ‘TikTok Global’ as a US-headquartered company that will include 20,000 jobs”.

Trump earlier this month said there would be no extension on his deadline for the sale of TikTok’s US business.


Category: China

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