TikTok is the most globally successful app ever produced by a Chinese company, and the conflict over its fate could further fracture the internet and plunge the world’s two largest economies into a deeper standoff. “At a minimum they’re flexing their muscles and saying, ‘We get a say in this and we’re not going to be bystanders,’” said Scott Kennedy, a senior adviser at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies who studies Chinese economic policy. “It could be an effort to outright block the sale, or just raise the price, or attach conditions to it to give China leverage down the road,” he said.
In Friday’s update to the export control rules, China’s Commerce Ministry and its Science and Technology Ministry restricted the export of “technology based on data analysis for personalized information recommendation services. ” TikTok plays up its ability to use technology to understand users’ interests and fill their feeds with more of what they will enjoy watching.
In the Saturday article published by Xinhua, a professor of international trade at China’s University of International Business and Economics, Cui Fan, said that ByteDance’s technologies would most likely be covered by the new export controls. “If ByteDance plans to export relevant technologies, it should go through the licensing procedures,” the article cited Mr. Cui as saying.
The moves from Beijing ensnare TikTok and potential American buyers including Microsoft and Oracle, wedging them in the middle of a tussle between the United States and China over the future of global technology.
The White House order that prompted TikTok’s sale cited national security concerns, and the United States has repeatedly blocked Chinese bids for companies with sensitive technologies as well as data. Mr.
Then on Saturday, the country’s official Xinhua news agency published commentary by a professor who said the new rule would mean that the video app’s parent, the Chinese internet giant ByteDance, might need a license to sell its technology to an American suitor.
Any sale of TikTok would most likely require the transfer overseas of code and technical services, the article said. “It is recommended that ByteDance seriously study the adjusted catalog, and carefully consider whether it is necessary to suspend the substantive negotiation of related transactions, perform the legal declaration procedures and then take further actions as appropriate,” Mr.
Beijing’s last-minute assertion of authority was an unexpected wrinkle for any sale of TikTok. https://t.co/vLCdV9Al6s— NYTimes Tech (@nytimestech) August 31, 2020
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