ByteDance applies for tech export license in China amid TikTok deal talks

Saturday, 26 Sep, 2020

The Trump administration announced their plans to ban TikTok, a popular social network app, from downloading on Sunday, September 20.

ByteDance submitted the application to Beijing's municipal commerce bureau and is waiting for a decision.

China's Ministry of Commerce said the Beijing commerce authority has received ByteDance's application for a technology export license.

The deal requires approval from regulators in both Beijing and Washington, ByteDance has said. ByteDance and Walmart did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Beijing-based ByteDance has only two Chinese nationals on its five-member board, with the other three being foreigners running USA -based companies.

Chinese-owned TikTok asked a judge to block the Trump Administration's attempt to ban its app, suggesting the video-sharing app's forced deal with Oracle and Walmart remains unsettled. The companies involved have issued clashing accounts of how the deal would be structured.

TikTok's ban will take effect on September 27 which many thought could be avoided after TikTok partnered with Oracle.

"China has no reason to give the green light to such a deal".

Later in the day, Trump told reporters the deal was "working its way through", and added, "I've given a preliminary OK".

However, the WSJ cited sources that believe the update to the tech export rules which were last changed in 2008 were made with TikTok's sale in mind.

TikTok's interim CEO Vanessa Pappas noted that each of the platforms had its own policies to take down harmful content and stop its distribution.

A deal has been approved by President Trump, Oracle and Walmart to buy TikTok.

The Beijing-based firm submitted the application to Beijing's municipal commerce bureau and is awaiting a decision, it said on its Toutiao online news platform on Thursday, without referring to ongoing talks over its US operations. The reason for this is because officials are concerned that China is using the app to spy on USA citizens.

As of Tuesday, Oracle's bid for TikTok's U.S. operations reportedly still included ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming on the board.

Almost 42,000 videos were removed in the USA for violating misinformation and disinformation policies, while more than 321,000 videos were blocked in the US for violating hate speech priorities.

The company fears that, while their deal with US companies are at limbo, the ban could cause "irreparable harm" to their USA operations, said an NBC News report. If ByteDance can't get both governments to approve the deal, it will likely have to shut down its US operations.

Trump invoked national-security concerns as a "pretext for furthering the president's broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric in the run-up to the USA election", TikTok said in that complaint. "But the new term sheet discussion suggests the USA will have majority or full ownership of the company".