China Says It Will ‘Firmly Oppose’ Pressured Sale of TikTok
China stated it could oppose efforts by the USA to drive a sale of TikTok, in a public rebuke of the Biden administration that leaves the app’s Chinese language possession caught between orders from governments of the world’s two largest economies.
The feedback, made by China’s commerce ministry on Thursday, got here hours earlier than TikTok’s chief govt was scheduled to testify earlier than Congress for the primary time, addressing American lawmakers’ mistrust of the favored short-form video app’s dealing with of U.S. consumer information.
A commerce ministry spokeswoman stated at a information convention that China would “firmly oppose” the sale of the app. Forcing such a transaction would “severely undermine the boldness of buyers from varied international locations, together with China, to put money into the USA,” she added.
Final week, news emerged that the Biden administration needed TikTok’s Chinese language proprietor, ByteDance, to promote the app or face a potential ban. The ultimatum indicated that negotiations between the White Home and TikTok’s possession on a much less extreme compromise had stalled.
U.S. lawmakers and regulators concern that the Chinese language authorities’s broad energy over personal firms within the nation may allow authorities in Beijing to entry the information of American customers.
China’s commerce ministry stated that any sale involving the export of know-how have to be “in accordance with Chinese language legal guidelines,” a suggestion that the Chinese language authorities may block any effort by ByteDance to divest TikTok. That would imperil TikTok’s efforts to persuade U.S. officers of its independence from Beijing.
Following a previous attempt by the Trump administration to drive the sale of TikTok, in 2020, China revised a list of protected technologies that analysts say would require ByteDance to acquire permission from the Chinese language authorities to promote the app to an American purchaser. TikTok’s most respected know-how is its prized suggestions algorithm, the supply of its success attracting and retaining customers all over the world.
TikTok got here up with a proposal final 12 months, known as Undertaking Texas, to allay U.S. officers’ nationwide safety considerations. TikTok would stay owned by ByteDance, however would put all the information generated by American customers on home servers operated and run by Oracle, the software program large in Austin, Texas. Solely Oracle and U.S.-based TikTok workers would have entry to the accounts and information of U.S. customers, TikTok stated.
Mr. Chew is anticipated to proceed selling the plan in his testimony earlier than Congress, the place lawmakers are anticipated to ask him powerful questions concerning the firm’s efforts to safe American consumer information, its ties to its Chinese language dad or mum firm and the dangers the app could pose to youngsters and youngsters.
In his written testimony forward of the listening to, Mr. Chew stated that ByteDance is a world firm owned by worldwide buyers in addition to workers. “Let me state this unequivocally: ByteDance is just not an agent of China or another nation,” he stated.
TikTok and ByteDance didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.