ByteDance attempts to avoid full sale of TikTok: In discussion with US govt

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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China’s ByteDance is in talks with the US government about possible solutions that may allow it to maintain some ownership of the popular video sharing app, TikTok’s operations in the country.

ByteDance is in pursuit of a way that can satisfy regulators in both China and the US.

Sources say that the option available to the Chinese parent company is to turn over the operational control of TikTok data to a US tech firm, while theoretically still maintaining some ownership of properties.

TikTok continues to be at the center of a political dispute between the US and China, and President Donald Trump gave the Americans a deadline to avoid doing business with TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance, effectively forcing the sale of the app to a US corporation.

Discussions to prevent a complete sale has been going on for some time and the situation remains complex. It is also uncertain if the Trump administration will decide to go along with such a plan.

The White House had earlier set a deadline of September 20 for the Chinese-owned company to announce a deal to sell TikTok’s US business to a US corporation, or to face a shutdown in the country by September 29. Any such agreement will have to be reached by November 12.

The parent company has been negotiating to sell TikTok’s US operations to tech giants Microsoft, who is in an alliance with Walmart, or Oracle. The deal was nearing completion, pushing CEO Kevin Mayer to announce his resignation.

However, the sale hit a snag after Chinese officials imposed new restrictions on technology exports that could require Chinese permission for TikTok to sell its algorithm, which is part of the app’s core value.

TikTok, which has been downloaded 175 million times in the US and more than a billion times worldwide, has filed a lawsuit challenging the US government’s ban.