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TikTok first got the chop in India when the Government of India issued an interim order to ban the Chinese video-sharing application citing security concerns. Not much later, President Trump also expressed concerns regarding the use of TikTok in America and stated that he wanted to ban the application in the country. And on August 6, Trump signed an executive order that would block transactions with Bytedance on September 20.

A couple of days later, a new executive order was drafted — giving TikTok 90 days to sell its US operations to another company. And thanks to its massive user base, a bunch of companies have shown interest in acquiring TikTok. Earlier, Microsoft and Twitter were trying to outbid each other to purchase the video-sharing application. But Walmart seems to want a piece of this deal too since it has teamed up with Microsoft to acquire TikTok’s US operations.

However, there’s a new twist to the entire story. According to The Guardian, the Chinese government may block TikTok from selling its US operations to any US-based company. Apparently, the government in China has tweaked its rules on tech exports, which bans the commercialization of specific technology categories to foreign countries. In turn, this could directly affect the ongoing negotiations between TikTok and interested US-based companies.

Late on Friday, Beijing issued new restrictions or bans on tech exports, requiring companies to seek government approval – a process that can take up to 30 days. In mid-August, Trump gave the company 90 days to sell up or face a shutdown.

The rules, which hadn’t been updated since 2008, are believed to be aimed at delaying the sale of TikTok to US buyers, as ordered by the US president.

Some technologies were removed from the list of regulated exports, including vaccine technologies, but the 23 new additions included tech relating to AI interfaces, voice recognition, and content recommendation analysis.

TikTok’s recommendation algorithm relies on domestic technology that might need to be transferred to a new overseas owner.

Providing some insights into the matter, Professor Cui Fan — a Chinese trade expert — told news agency Xinhua that TikTok must be careful with negotiations for its sale:

Cui told news agency Xinhua China was not in favour of “decoupling” from the US, but “some forefront technologies, however, might impact national security and public welfare, and need to be included in catalogue management”.

Cui said ByteDance should “seriously and cautiously consider whether it is necessary to suspend the [TikTok sale negotiations]”.

So we’ll have to wait and see how the new law in China affects the deal between US companies and ByteDance’s — TikTok.


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Dwayne Cubbins
I write about tech, games, and more. When I'm not clickety-clacking on my mechanical keyboard, I can be found playing PUBG Mobile with my squad.

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