China’s new tech export controls could give Beijing a say in TikTok sale
China’s new rules around tech exports mean ByteDance’s sale of TikTok’s US operations could need Beijing’s approval, a Chinese trade expert told state media, a requirement that would complicate the forced and politically charged divestment.
ByteDance has been ordered by President Donald Trump to divest short video app TikTok - which is challenging the order - in the United States amid security concerns over the personal data it handles.
Microsoft Corp and Oracle Corp are among the suitors for the assets, which also includes TikTok’s Canada, New Zealand and Australia operations.
However, China late on Friday revised a list of technologies that are banned or restricted for export for the first time in 12 years and Cui Fan, a professor of international trade at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said the changes would apply to TikTok.
“If ByteDance plans to export related technologies, it should go through the licensing procedures,” Cui said in an interview with Xinhua published on Saturday.
China’s Ministry of Commerce added 23 items - including technologies such as personal information push services based on data analysis and artificial intelligence interactive interface technology - to the restricted list.
It can take up to 30 days to obtain preliminary approval to export the technology.
TikTok’s secret weapon is believed to be its recommendation engine that keeps users glued to their screens. This engine, or algorithm, powers TikTok’s “For You” page, which recommends the next video to watch based on an analysis of your behaviour.
Cui noted that ByteDance’s development overseas had relied on its domestic technology that provided the core algorithm and said the company may need to transfer software codes or usage rights to the new owner of TikTok from China to overseas.
“Therefore, it is recommended that ByteDance seriously studies the adjusted catalogue and carefully considers whether it is necessary to suspend” negotiations on a sale, he added.
ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
China’s foreign ministry has said that it opposes the executive orders Trump has placed on TikTok and that Beijing will defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese businesses.
The Hambantota Port is located in southern Sri Lanka close to the east-west sea route. Its construction began in 2008 which was funded through Chinese loans of about US$ 1.3 billion. The construction was carried out by a joint venture of China Harbor Engineering Company and the Sino Hydro Corporation. By 2016, the Hambantota Port under the ownership of Sri Lanka Ports Authority had incurred losses of about SLR 46.7 billion.
A US navy destroyer sunk during World War II has been found nearly 7,000 metres (23,000 feet) below sea level off the Philippines, making it the world's deepest shipwreck ever located, an American exploration team said. A crewed submersible filmed, photographed and surveyed the battered hull of the "Sammy B" during a series of dives over eight days this month, Texas-based undersea technology company Caladan Oceanic said.
Afghanistan's Taliban administration on Saturday called on international governments to roll back sanctions and lift a freeze on central bank assets following the earthquake that killed more than 1,000 people and left thousands homeless. The 6.1-magnitude quake that struck the east of the country early on Wednesday destroyed or damaged 10,000 homes and injured about 2,000 people, straining the country's fragile health system and posing a major test for the ruling Taliban.
Britain's railway system once again came to a virtual standstill on Saturday and flights in Europe were disrupted as strikes in the travel sector hit the continent. Tens of thousands of rail workers in the UK staged the latest day-long walkout over pay and job security, hampering weekend plans for those already hit by similar strikes on Tuesday and Thursday.
The World Health Organization's chief said Saturday that the monkeypox outbreak was a deeply concerning evolving threat but did not currently constitute a global health emergency. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus convened a committee of experts on Thursday to advise him whether to sound the UN health agency's strongest alarm over the outbreak. More than 3,200 confirmed cases and one death have now been reported to the WHO from more than 50 countries this year.