ByteDance defends strategy after Trump calls for U.S. ownership of TikTok

Yolanda Curtis
August 5, 2020

Trump said that the money would come from China or a USA buyer such as Microsoft Corp.

Mr Trump set off a furious scramble over the fate of the Chinese-owned app last Friday, when he said he would ban the company's operations through an executive action the next day.

In its latest editorial, however, The Global Times took a less threatening tone and said that US treatment of ByteDance and Huawei was indicative of USA efforts to separate its economy from China's.

The US had previously expressed concerns about the data-collection practices of TikTok's parent company, ByteDance but the video service insisted they do not take direction from their Beijing headquarters.

He insisted that the app would be banned in the United States if a deal is not struck by September 15.

Zhang, who founded ByteDance in 2012, said Monday that his teams are working around-the-clock "for the best outcome".

USA tech giant Microsoft is an advanced discussion to buy the popular video app from ByteDance subject to security review.

Microsoft is in talks for the acquisition of TikTok's business in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the company said in a statement on Monday.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that China's ruling Communist Party blasted those efforts via an editorial in the China Daily newspaper, saying it will not accept the "theft" of a Chinese tech company and is ready to respond if needed.

Google and Facebook have also expressed interest in acquiring TikTok - though doing so might prove hard, as CEOs from both American companies were recently grilled on Capitol Hill over anti-trust concerns. He said Washington's goal was not to force a sale of TikTok's US operations through the Committee of Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) but to ban the app, and there was a legal process ByteDance had no choice but to follow.

The app has been under formal investigation on USA national security grounds, because it collects large amounts of personal data on users and is legally bound to share it with authorities in Beijing if they demand it.

There have also been concerns that TikTok could hand over user data to China at its request, though the company has said it will not.

"A US company should buy TikTok so everyone can keep using it and your data is safe", he said in a tweet, "With TikTok in China, it's subject to Chinese Communist Party laws that may require handing over data to their government". "We ought to look at the immediate challenges and pressures from the long-term development and pursue high standards in protecting the interests of users and fulfilling corporate social responsibility", he said.

Others urged ByteDance to learn from United States giant Google, which opted to pull its search engine out of the Chinese market in 2010 after China asked it to censor its search results, rather than selling off its Chinese operations.

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