China might be reluctant to allow ByteDance to sell the US operations of its hit app TikTok to an American company. It would rather see TikTok face the ban that looms over the short-video platform than seeing it being sold. The purchase of TikTok by an American company would make Beijing look weak, especially at a time when the pressure on Chinese companies in the US is mounting.
According to Reuters that cites three people with direct knowledge of what China thinks of the impasse between ByteDance and the Trump administration. Donald Trump has warned to ban TikTok in the US latest by mid-September but that can be circumvented if the app can cut its connection with China. Following that directive, China’s ByteDance was reportedly reaching out to different companies with American roots to sell the operations of TikTok in the US. ByteDance sought an extension on this deadline but the US said it will not budge.
Microsoft and Oracle have so far been on the front to buy TikTok for the US, and perhaps for global markets to assuage China-related fears. India blocked TikTok back in June on the grounds that it was found siphoning data off to China and posing as a threat to the country’s sovereignty. If TikTok loses its Chinese parent, then, analysts believe, it might re-enter India to wrest its position. TikTok is all the rage with millennials not only in India but several other countries, owing to its short-form video remix format.
China has detested the move that Trump administration is slated to take against TikTok. It might involve so much as banning it completely, much like what happened to the app in India. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a presser that the US is “abusing the concept of national security”. Lijian also urged the US government to stop “oppressing” foreign companies. Previously, the US cracked down on Huawei over espionage allegations and this time it is ByteDance, both having their roots in China.