Update: The Story has now been confirmed by Bytedance and China’s Global Times.
Just days after rumours that a deal could be close between Bytedance, Wallmart and Microsoft on the selling of TikTok, China’s Ministry of Commerce has released new restrictions pertaining to the export of “Personalized Information Push Service Technology Based on Data Analysis”- a category which very much applies to the popular social media service.
In a way similar to the U.S “entity list”, the procedure requires that companies engaging in exports this field first must approve of a regulatory license, otherwise no transactions or negotiations can take place. As a legal consequence, Chinese authorities therefore must prove any potential deal concerning the sale of TikTok to an American company.
The announcement comes amid a growing backlash that Trump was effectively trying to procure the globally acclaimed app via a means of extortion, forcing Bytedance to sell the application under a limited timeline on a pending ban, and then demanding a cut of the proceeds saying China shouldn’t be allowed to gain from it. Many netizens urged the company not to capitulate.
Now Beijing may have secured the counter leverage to prevent this from happening, elevating the app’s fate to a bilateral dispute than a smash and grab by the White House.