TikTok's owner ByteDance applies for Chinese license to close US deal

WION Web Team
Beijing, ChinaUpdated: Sep 24, 2020, 06:33 PM IST

ByteDance and TikTok Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

The Chinese firm submitted the application to Beijing's municipal commerce bureau and is awaiting a decision

TikTok's owner ByteDance said Thursday it has applied for a Chinese technology export license as it tries to complete a deal with Oracle and Walmart to keep the popular video app operating in the United States. 

The Chinese firm submitted the application to Beijing's municipal commerce bureau and is awaiting a decision.

The application comes about a month after China revised its list of technologies subject to export bans or restrictions for the first time in 12 years, in a manner which experts said gave the government a say over any TikTok deal. It can take up to 30 days to obtain preliminary approval to export such technology.

Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng told reporters on Thursday that the application has been received and would be handled in accordance with relevant regulations and procedures.

ByteDance has said its deal with Oracle and Walmart will see the creation of a standalone US company and does not involve any transfer of technology, though Oracle will be able to inspect TikTok US source code.

It has also said the deal needs approval from both China and the United States.

However, the companies have issued conflicting statements over the terms of the agreement they reached with the White House.

ByteDance said it will establish a US subsidiary called TikTok Global of which it will own 80 per cent.

Oracle and WalMart, however, said majority ownership of TikTok Global would be in American hands, complying with an August 14 executive order by US President Donald Trump that ByteDance relinquish ownership of TikTok within 90 days.

Chinese state media outlets China Daily and the Global Times this week said they see no reason for China to approve the deal that Oracle and Walmart said they have struck with ByteDance, calling it based on "bullying and extortion".

TikTok's experience is "a textbook example of the United States' modern-day piracy and tech bullying," Chinese state news agency Xinhua said in an English-language commentary on Thursday, adding that national security concerns that Washington has expressed over TikTok are "nothing but a fig leaf".

"It is time that other countries saw through the outrageous farce of the TikTok drama, knew what is really at stake, and joined hands to oppose such blatant robberies and maintain a fair global business environment," it said.

TikTok asked a US judge on Wednesday to block an order from Trump's administration that would require Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google to remove its short video-sharing app for new downloads from Sunday.

In response to a question on TikTok's request, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Thursday said China supports companies' use of relevant legal weapons to uphold their rights.