It has emerged that Beijing would rather see TikTok close down in the U.S. as opposing having to complete a forced sale. As reported by CNBC, sources close to both parties have revealed the intentions of the Chinese government.
For a couple of weeks news of the sale of TikTok has gone comparatively quiet. Trump has sowed doubt about the deadline meaning that although TikTok is in talks about a sale the deadline may not get extended.
One of the parties interesting in buying TikTok is Microsoft. They have been in talks for a number of weeks now. However, it looks like the Chinese government wants to block any deal involving Microsoft.
It now looks like Microsoft itself may not be the problem. Beijing seems intent to stop any sort of forced sale of TikTok.
Chinese government against the sale of TikTok
The main reason for opposing any sort of forced sale is the appearance that would give off. Reportedly, Chinese officials believe giving into a forced sale would make them look weak to the west.
However, ByteDance has made a statement on the topic that does not quite corroborate this view. The company said that the Chinese government had never suggested that it should shut down.
Things are a fair bit more complex than this simple binary selection but from ByteDance's perspective, they see little opposition to a sale. However, we do know that the Chinese government has looked to use revisions it made to a technology exports list to delay the sale of TikTok.
China’s State Council Information Office and its foreign and commerce ministries were approached for comment on the matter. However, they did not immediately respond.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, however, has said that the U.S. has abused the concept of national security. He urged the Trump administration to stop oppressing foreign companies.
As things stand the deal to sell TikTok may look quite complex in order to get around the Chinese regulations. Potentially the sale would not involve key algorithms to get around the regulations.
These algorithms are now on a list of technologies that will need Chinese government approval before they are exported. This new list came into force very recently although the Chinese government said it did not change the regulations to target specific companies.
How any sort of agreement or deal gets resolved in this situation is beginning to look more and more unlikely. Hopefully, for TikTok users, something does get sorted but with all the complications currently flying around it is difficult to get your hopes up.