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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

China Might Block TikTok Sale Out of Alleged National Security Concerns: Report

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ByteDance’s plans to sell TikTok could possibly hit a substantial roadblock following China’s new restrictions on the export of cutting-edge AI technologies. According to Bloomberg, the company will need the approval of the Chinese government to sell the US operations of its viral video-sharing app to a foreign company. Recent reports suggest that the Chinese firm is in discussions with Microsoft, Oracle and even Walmart for the deal following an ultimatum by the US government.

As per the report, the Chinese government recently included a number of new items to its lengthy export-control list, including AI technologies, such as algorithms used for speech and text recognition, and those that analyze data to make personalized content recommendations. TikTok apparently uses some of the technologies that fall under the new restrictions, and will hence need a permit from Beijing to “safeguard national economic security”.

ByteDance, meanwhile, says it is aware of the new restrictions, and intends to “strictly comply” with Chinese law. The company’s executives are reportedly working to understand the new rule, but according to at least one of the sources quoted by the report, it might be a challenge to please two feuding governments already at odds with one another over a number of issues.

In case you don’t know it already, TikTok is in negotiations with Microsoft to sell its US operations after US president Donald Trump signed an executive order effectively banning TikTok in the US from September 20. The Redmond giant has already confirmed that it is in talks with the beleaguered Chinese company for a deal that could be in billions of dollars.

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