‘US should get sub­stan­tial por­tion of TikTok sale’

Trump vows ban if no deal reached by mid-Septem­ber

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON (Reuters) — U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Mon­day the U.S. govern­ment should get a “sub­stan­tial por­tion” of the sales price of the U.S. op­er­a­tions of pop­u­lar short-video app TikTok and warned he will ban the ser­vice in the United States on Sept. 15 with­out a sale.

The turn­around came af­ter Trump on Fri­day said he was plan­ning to ban the Chi­nese-owned video app’s U.S. op­er­a­tions as soon as Satur­day af­ter dis­miss­ing a pos­si­ble sale to Mi­crosoft.

Reuters re­ported last week that some in­vestors are valu­ing TikTok at about $50 bil­lion, cit­ing peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

“I did say that if you buy it, what­ever the price is that goes to who­ever owns it, be­cause I guess it’s China es­sen­tially … I said a very sub­stan­tial por­tion of that price is go­ing to have to come into the Trea­sury of the United States be­cause we’re mak­ing it pos­si­ble for this deal to hap­pen,” Trump said.

Trump later de­fended his push for a cut, adding “no­body else would be think­ing about but me, but that’s the way I think.”

Ni­cholas Klein, a lawyer at DLA Piper, said gen­er­ally “the govern­ment doesn’t have the au­thor­ity to take a cut of a pri­vate deal through” the Com­mit­tee on For­eign In­vest­ment in the United States (CFIUS), which is the in­ter­a­gency com­mit­tee that re­views some for­eign in­vest­ments in the United States.

It was not clear how the U.S. govern­ment would re­ceive part of the pur­chase price.

He added it “will close down on Sept. 15 un­less Mi­crosoft or some­body else is able to buy it and work out a deal, an ap­pro­pri­ate deal so the Trea­sury … of the United States gets a lot of money.”

TikTok said Mon­day it is “com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing to bring joy to fam­i­lies and mean­ing­ful ca­reers to those who cre­ate on our plat­form as we build TikTok for the long term. TikTok will be here for many years to come.”

Daniel El­man, an­a­lyst at Nu­cleus Re­search, said a sale “could fore­shadow a grow­ing wave of U.S. com­pany ac­qui­si­tion of Chi­nese in­ter­net prop­er­ties, par­tic­u­larly if the geopo­lit­i­cal ten­sions con­tinue to mount.” El­man said that could im­pact Ten­cent’s WeChat.

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo ref­er­enced WeChat on Sun­day and said Trump “will take ac­tion in the com­ing days with re­spect to a broad ar­ray of na­tional se­cu­rity risks that are pre­sented by soft­ware con­nected to the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.”

U.S. of­fi­cials have said TikTok poses a na­tional risk be­cause of the per­sonal data it han­dles.

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer said in a blog post last week that the com­pany was com­mit­ted to fol­low­ing U.S. laws and was al­low­ing ex­perts to ob­serve its mod­er­a­tion poli­cies and ex­am­ine the code that drives its al­go­rithms.

Trump’s com­ments con­firmed a Reuters re­port Sun­day that he had agreed to give China’s ByteDance 45 days to ne­go­ti­ate a sale of TikTok to Mi­crosoft.

Trump, a for­mer New York real es­tate de­vel­oper, com­pared TikTok to the land­lord-ten­ant re­la­tion­ship, sug­gest­ing TikTok is like a ten­ant. “With­out a lease, the ten­ant has noth­ing — so they pay what’s called key money or they pay some­thing.” He said he did not mind “whether it’s Mi­crosoft or some­body else — a big com­pany, a se­cure com­pany, very, very Amer­i­can com­pany buy it.”

Mi­crosoft said Sun­day that CEO Satya Nadella had spo­ken to Trump and “is pre­pared to con­tinue dis­cus­sions to ex­plore a pur­chase of TikTok in the United States.”

Mi­crosoft said Sun­day it is “com­mit­ted to ac­quir­ing TikTok sub­ject to a com­plete se­cu­rity re­view and pro­vid­ing proper eco­nomic ben­e­fits to the United States, in­clud­ing the United States Trea­sury.”

Chi­nese firm files law­suit against Ap­ple

SHANG­HAI/SAN FRAN­CISCO (Reuters) — Chi­nese ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence com­pany Shang­hai Zhizhen In­tel­li­gent Net­work Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd, also known as Xiao-i, has filed a law­suit against Ap­ple Inc, al­leg­ing it has in­fringed on its pa­tents.

The com­pany is call­ing for 10 bil­lion yuan ($1.4 bil­lion) in dam­ages and de­mands that Ap­ple cease “man­u­fac­tur­ing, us­ing, promis­ing to sell, selling, and im­port­ing” prod­ucts that in­fringe on the patent, it said in a so­cial me­dia post.

In the law­suit filed in a lo­cal Chi­nese court, Xiao-i ar­gued that Ap­ple’s voice-recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy Siri in­fringes on a patent that it ap­plied for in 2004 and was granted in 2009.

In a state­ment, Ap­ple said that its Siri does not con­tain fea­tures in­cluded in the Xiao-i patent, which the iPhone maker ar­gues re­lates to games and in­stant mes­sag­ing.

The com­pany also said that in­de­pen­dent ap­prais­ers cer­ti­fied by the Supreme Peo­ple’s Court have con­cluded that Ap­ple does not in­fringe Xiao-i Ro­bot’s tech­nol­ogy. “We are dis­ap­pointed Xiao-i Ro­bot has filed an­other law­suit,” Ap­ple said in a state­ment.

EPA-Yon­hap

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump holds a news con­fer­ence in the James Brady Press Brief­ing Room of the White House in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Mon­day.

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