Dis­cord arises over US lifeline for TikTok

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligen­ce - By Margi Mur­phy in San Fran­cisco

DOUBTS have been cast over the lat­est deal to pre­vent TikTok be­ing banned in the US, af­ter its Chi­nese owner in­sisted it will main­tain ma­jor­ity con­trol and state me­dia in China said the govern­ment will not ap­prove its sale.

Hu Xi­jin, ed­i­tor-in-chief of the Global Times, a state-run Chi­nese news­pa­per, said yes­ter­day that Bei­jing would not ap­prove an agree­ment be­tween ByteDance, TikTok’s par­ent com­pany, and Or­a­cle and Wal­mart, be­cause the deal “would en­dan­ger China’s na­tional se­cu­rity, in­ter­ests and dig­nity”.

ByteDance said on Chi­nese so­cial me­dia that the newly formed TikTok Global would be a “100pc” sub­sidiary, an ap­par­ent con­tra­dic­tion to state­ments made by Or­a­cle and pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who told Fox News that “[ByteDance] will have noth­ing to do with it, and if they do we just won’t make a deal”.

As part of the agree­ment, an­nounced on Satur­day, Or­a­cle and Wal­mart are re­ported to have rights to buy 12.5pc and 7.5pc, re­spec­tively, of a newly es­tab­lished TikTok Global.

ByteDance would own the re­main­ing 80pc. How­ever, around 40pc of ByteDance’s own­er­ship is pri­vate Amer­i­can fi­nanciers, which ef­fec­tively means TikTok Global will be ma­jor­ity-owned by the US.

“Upon cre­ation of TikTok Global, Or­a­cle/Wal­mart will make their in­vest­ment and the TikTok Global shares will be dis­trib­uted to their own­ers; Amer­i­cans will be the ma­jor­ity and ByteDance will have no own­er­ship in TikTok Global,” Ken Glueck, Or­a­cle’s ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent, said yes­ter­day.

TikTok has more than 800m users world­wide and around 100m in the US alone.

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