Bei­jing could block TikTok sale

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By James Tit­comb

CHINA could step in to block the sale of TikTok’s US op­er­a­tions af­ter Bei­jing gave it­self new pow­ers to block ex­ports that are be­lieved to cover the pop­u­lar video app.

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment up­dated its re­stric­tions on tech­nol­ogy ex­ports for the first time in 12 years, just days be­fore TikTok’s Bei­jing-based owner ByteDance is due to con­firm a sale of the app in Amer­ica. State media quoted a Chi­nese pro­fes­sor and gov­ern­ment ad­viser say­ing the new rules mean ByteDance will need a li­cence to sell TikTok.

The company is rac­ing to fi­nalise a sale of TikTok’s US busi­ness, with bid­ders in­clud­ing a Mi­crosoft-Wal­mart coali­tion and a con­sor­tium led by busi­ness soft­ware giant Or­a­cle.

Don­ald Trump has is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der say­ing that if TikTok is not sold by Sept 15, the app will be banned.

While the White House has said the app’s Chi­nese own­er­ship is a na­tional se­cu­rity threat, Bei­jing has been rel­a­tively si­lent on the mat­ter un­til now. Its in­ter­ven­tion threat­ens to com­pli­cate or halt any sale of the app, which is likely to be worth more than $20bn (£15bn).

Erich An­der­sen, gen­eral coun­sel at ByteDance, said: “We are study­ing the new reg­u­la­tions that were re­leased Fri­day. As with any cross-bor­der trans­ac­tion, we will fol­low the ap­pli­ca­ble laws, which in this case in­clude those of the US and China.”

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