Sunday, 09 May, 2021


China tightens tech export controls potentially jeopardizing TikTok deal, reports say

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Bennie Garza | 30 August, 2020, 20:08

ByteDance will be required to seek Chinese government approval to sell the United States operations of TikTok.

TikTok has been at the center of a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing, and Trump signed an executive order on August 6 giving Americans 45 days to stop doing business with TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance - effectively setting a deadline for a sale of the app to a U.S. company.

An updated export rule from China could jeopardize the sale of TikTok's USA operations, according to reports published Saturday in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

According to Chinese trade expert, Cui Fan, the new rules could impact TikTok's sale by ByteDance - its Chinese owner - as the measures cover some of its underlying technologies.

The revised catalogue, released on Thursday jointly by China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the Ministry of Science and Technology, added a total of 23 items subject to export restrictions while deleting four items prohibited from export, including microbial fertilizing and caffeine production technologies, CGTN reported.

Earlier this week, TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer quit the company, days after TikTok filed a lawsuit challenging the crackdown by the USA government. The new rule is aimed at delaying the sale and is not an outright ban, the person said.

Microsoft and Oracle have submitted rival bids to ByteDance to acquire TikTok's USA business, while Centricus Asset Management and Triller were said to have made a last-minute pitch on Friday to buy TikTok's operations in several countries for $20 billion. A ByteDance representative had no immediate comment when reached by Bloomberg.

ByteDance said on Sunday it noted the Friday revisions to China's technology exports list and that it would strictly abide by the rules when dealing with related matters, according to a statement it posted on its official account on Jinri Toutiao, a news aggregator app it owns.

Technologies related to drones and to some genetic engineering methods and procedures were also added to the revised export-control list while others in areas like medical equipment were removed.

With assistance from Zhang Dingmin and Miao Han.

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