China may let TikTok face US ban: Here's why
Chinese giant ByteDance is running out of time to comply with the Donald Trump administration's 'sell or close' order for TikTok US. There has been a lot of speculation regarding the fate of the video service, and now, the latest reports suggest that Beijing is not ready to accept this 'forced sale' even if that means seeing the company shut down in the US.
Multiple people familiar with the matter have told Reuters that China is in direct opposition to a forced sale of TikTok. According to the country's officials, accepting this order would make ByteDance as well as the Chinese government appear weak in front of the US - which has been demanding a sale of TikTok's US business to a credible American company.
The Trump administration has argued that the data collected by TikTok could be shared with the Chinese government, resulting in a threat to America's national security. While both ByteDance and TikTok have denied any wrongdoing, the US President has issued executive orders requiring a sale of TikTok's US assets by mid-September. If there's no deal by then, the service is bound to be banned.
Since the order, ByteDance has taken bids from several American giants, including Microsoft, Oracle. There have also been reports that it could avoid a sale by restructuring to the satisfaction of the US. However, the Chinese government, not wanting to take something lying down, has added AI systems used by TikTok to the list of technologies that need regulatory approval before export.
According to the sources cited by Reuters, the Chinese government is willing to use these revisions to the technology export list to delay any possible deal ByteDance may have reached for TikTok US. This might eventually result in TikTok missing the deadline of sale and getting banned in the country - which China would prefer to see rather than a forced sale.
Officially, China has only criticized the US for abusing the point of national security to oppress foreign companies. A few days ago, while announcing an initiative to establish global data security standards, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, "Some individual countries are aggressively pursuing unilateralism, conducting global hunts under the pretext of security. This is naked bullying and should be opposed and rejected."
Meanwhile, commenting on the Chinese authorities' internal stance on the matter, ByteDance told Reuters that their government had never suggested that it should shut down TikTok anywhere in the world. Notably, there have also been some reports that ByteDance could still work out a deal, and circumvent the regulatory hurdles, by not transferring the technology added to the export list of China.