The controversial urge to force Chinese tech unicorn ByteDance to sell some or all of TikTok Social media service for a US-based company could be in doubt after a report today indicated that the Chinese government may be against the deal. According to reports from Reuters, the Chinese government might prefer TikTok to simply shut down its US operations rather than allow it to be sold to an American company.
The potential sale of TikTok is not a regular business transaction. Instead, the deal is being demanded by the US government, as President Donald Trump controls foreign and economic policy through Executive Fiat. The US Prime Minister relied on his own business acumen and also demanded that his government receive a portion of the final sale price. It is not clear whether this concept is legal.
As the US and China struggle for economic and political supremacy around the world, the deal is a focal point between countries with a group of companies in the middle. ByteDance is in the mix, along with Microsoft, Walmart and other companies to a lesser extent like Oracle. The Trump administration set a schedule for a deal made in mid-September. However, as the month burns down, it is not clear whether this schedule could be met.
The United States is not alone in curbing Chinese influence within its borders as the TikTok sale comes after India banned the app along with dozens of other China-based apps.
The deal is also under pressure from a changing regulatory environment in China as the country̵
For ByteDance, the situation is a nightmare. For Microsoft, the deal is a shotgun marriage that they may not be entirely excited about. For the Trump administration it is an attempt at a power game. And for China’s increasingly authoritarian government, the deal could feel like submission. So if the deal can be pulled together, it will be more of a surprise than an eventuality.