Prospects for popular shortform video app TikTok remained unclear Friday, the Trump administration’s latest deadline on China’s ByteDance to sell the US TikTok platform.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States on November 25 pushed back the deadline by seven days to resolve the issue, which centers on White House threats to ban the popular social media app, which it says could be used for Chinese espionage.
The Department of Treasury, which oversees CFIUS, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
TikTok also did not respond to request for comments.
The Trump administration has threatened to ban TikTok unless it is sold to American investors. But the ban has been challenged in the courts.
Any plan would likely need approval from Beijing, which has balked at giving up control of its social media star.
China’s commerce ministry published new rules in August that added “civilian use” to a list of the types of technology that are restricted for export, which could make it more difficult for ByteDance to sell TikTok, which features clips of everything from dance routines to politics.
A deal appeared to take shape earlier this year which would allow Silicon Valley giant Oracle to be the data partner for a newly incorporated TikTok Global, with Walmart joining as a commercial partner.
While Trump signaled his approval for the plan, it has not been finalized.
Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said ByteDance could seek to delay a sale until President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.
Biden is expected to have a softer approach towards China compared with the outgoing president, Ives said in a note.
“In this game of high stakes poker, it’s very possible that ByteDance looks to delay deal negotiations in hopes that the incoming Biden administration eliminates this executive order in what would be a seminal shift for the US towards China on technology policy and send an ‘olive branch’ signal to Beijing,” Ives said, adding that the company could also opt to go ahead with the Oracle transaction.
© 2020 AFP
Deadline looms to sell US TikTok platform (2020, December 4)
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