ByteDance says TikTok proposal will need both Chinese and US approval

A smartphone with the Tik Tok logo is seen in front of a displayed Oracle logo in this illustration taken, Septemeber 14, 2020. — Reuters pic
A smartphone with the Tik Tok logo is seen in front of a displayed Oracle logo in this illustration taken, Septemeber 14, 2020. — Reuters pic

BEIJING, Sept 17 — ByteDance’s proposal for US software firm Oracle Corp to become a technology partner in its TikTok app will ultimately need approval from both Chinese and US officials, the company said today.

The proposal, submitted to the Trump administration over the weekend, envisages Oracle becoming a “trusted” technology partner and making TikTok Global a US-headquartered company. A person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that ByteDance is to hold majority ownership of TikTok.

US President Donald Trump has ordered ByteDance to divest TikTok amid US concerns user data could be passed to China’s Communist Party government. He has said he would ban TikTok in the United States as early as Sunday if ByteDance does not comply.

Reuters has reported that the Oracle deal would not require ByteDance to apply to Chinese authorities for an export license for TikTok’s algorithm.

The company also told state-backed newspaper Global Times today that a sale of TikTok’s operations or technologies is not included in its proposal to the United States. ByteDance declined to comment when asked about this detail by Reuters.

Trump yesterday raised questions about ByteDance’s plans to keep a majority stake in TikTok’s US operations and said he did not favour the idea of the Chinese firm retaining control, after six Republican lawmakers urged him to reject the proposal.

China late last month updated its export control rules to give it a say over the transfer of technology, such as TikTok’s user recommendation algorithm, to a foreign buyer. Chinese officials have said ByteDance should not be coerced by the United States into a deal. — Reuters

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