ByteDance may not have to sell off the US operations of TikTok after all. The Chinese company is reportedly talking with the Trump administration about making alternative arrangements that would avoid a “full sale” of its popular short-form video-sharing app.
It’s unclear what “possible arrangements” ByteDance is offering to make in order to keep TikTok alive in the US. The Wall Street Journal reports that there are still “a number” of options on the table for the company. It’ll probably restructure the app’s US operations to appease the American government.
Discussions around this have been going on for months, the Journal reports citing people familiar with the matter. Possibly since President Trump signed the first executive order back in July, or even before that. However, those discussions have intensified in recent times after the Chinese government got involved in the TikTok-US saga. The report adds that at least one of TikTok’s major investors was involved in the recent discussions. They reportedly talked about data security.
Officials from Beijing have put restrictions on the export of TikTok’s AI technology. This makes the app less attractive to potential American buyers. Several tech biggies, including Microsoft, Twitter, Oracle, and Walmart have all shown interest in TikTok. However, none of them has been able to strike a deal with ByteDance yet.
Analysts value TikTok’s US business at anywhere between $10 billion to $50 billion. That’s a big purchase and without the app’s important algorithms, it becomes less attractive.
TikTok may not have to sell off its US operations
America is concerned that TikTok users could have their personal information obtained by the Chinese government, posing a threat to national security. The Trump administration has threatened to impose a nationwide ban on the app unless its Chinese owner ByteDance divests the operations to an American company.
TikTok, which has over 100 million active users in the US, now has until November 12 to find a buyer or face a ban. The company is in talks with several potential buyers but nothing has come to fruition yet.
In the meantime, ByteDance is also seemingly in talks with the US government about making alternative arrangements. The company has long claimed that it doesn’t pose any threat to US security. The company says TikTok’s servers for its US-based users are located in the US itself, and in Singapore. It may now offer to move the servers located in Singapore to the US as well. We’ll have to wait and see if ByteDance’s alternate arrangements satisfy President Trump’s concerns.