(Reuters) – Beijing opposes the forced sale of Tiktok’s US operations by its Chinese boss BiteDance, and would prefer to see the short video app shut down in the United States, three people with direct knowledge of the case on Friday.
Bytdance is in talks to sell Tiktok’s US business to potential buyers including Microsoft MSFT.O And oracle ORCL.N Because US President Donald Trump threatened to ban the service last month if it was not sold.
Trump has given Bytdans a mid-September deadline to finalize a deal.
However, Chinese officials believe a forced sale would weaken both Bydtance and China in the face of Washington pressure, sources said, noting the sensitivity of the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Bytdance said in a statement to Reuters that the Chinese government had never suggested that TicTalk be discontinued in the United States or in any other market.
Sources said China set out to use the amendment on August 28 to delay any deal made by ByteDance if it were to happen.
China’s State Council Information Office and its foreign and commerce ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent after working hours.
When asked about Trump and Tiktok on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a regular press briefing that the United States was abusing the concept of national security, and he urged foreign companies to stop tyranny did.
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Reuters has reported that potential buyers of Tiktok were discussing four ways to acquire from BiteDance.
Within these, ByteDance can advance the sale of Tickcock’s US assets by selling key algorithms without approval from China’s Ministry of Commerce.
Bytdance and its founder Zhang Yiming are caught in a conflict between the world’s two major powers.
Trump last month issued two executive orders stating that Tektok needed to sell U.S. assets or face being banned in a country where the app is extremely popular among teens.
US officials have criticized the security and privacy of the app, suggesting that user data may be shared with Beijing. TikTok has stated that it will not comply with any request to share user data with Chinese authorities.
Beijing has said it strongly opposes Trump’s executive orders and moved to say itself in the process on August 28, revising the list of technologies that the Chinese government approved before exporting Will be required Experts said that Tiktok’s recommendation algorithm would fall under this list.
Chinese regulators said the rules were not targeted at specific companies last week, but confirmed their right to enforce them.
Reporting by Keith Zhai in Singapore, Yingxi Yang and Gabriel Crossley in Beijing, Julie Xue in Hong Kong and Echo Wang in New York; Editing by Brenda Goh, Tony Munro and Alexander Smith and Mark Potter