President Trump on Monday said that popular social media platform TikTok will be “out of business” in the US if it doesn’t reach a deal to sell its American operations by mid-September.
The president comments to the media confirmed a previous blog post from Microsoft — which is currently in discussions with Beijing-based TikTok parent company ByteDance over a potential acquisition — which said it was looking to reach a deal “no later than September 15.”
Trump said that he does not mind if Microsoft or another company acquires the popular video app, so long as they are American, and added that part of the sale price should go to the US Treasury.
The negotiations between the two companies are being overseen by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The government panel has the ability to block any agreement.
TikTok has been the subject of escalating scrutiny from US public officials over concerns the Chinese government could force ByteDance to give up valuable user information.
News of of the potential purchase has been met with cheers in the US and jeers on the other side of the globe.
The app’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance will receive a raw deal for TikTok no matter how much it sells for, according to one of China’s biggest investors, because the app is still in an early stage of its growth.
“It absolutely makes no sense,” Fred Hu, chairman of Primavera Capital Group, said. “ByteDance is an innocent victim of the mad politics and mad geopolitics. It is a sad outcome for ByteDance, for entrepreneurial capitalism, and for the future of global commerce.”
The topic “ByteDance has agreed to divest TikTok’s U.S. operations” was one of the most discussed subjects on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform on Monday, with over 920 million views.
Some commentators criticized ByteDance, saying it has not shown as much backbone as Huawei Technologies, also in the crosshairs of US-China tensions and now on a UStrade blacklist.
“(ByteDance) kneeled down so fast that it didn’t even wait for the Chinese government to retaliate,” said one comment that was ‘liked’ over 5,000 times.
The response in the US was a much different story, however.
“A US company should buy TikTok so everyone can keep using it and your data is safe,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said on Twitter. “This is about privacy. With TikTok in China, it’s subject to Chinese Communist Party laws that may require handing over data to their government.”
Many prominent Republicans, including House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, issued statements in support of a Microsoft acquisition of TikTok’s US operations.
With Post wires.
Source: New York Post
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