According to the latest reports of The Wall Street Journal, Chinese Internet giant ByteDance is in talks with the US about ways it might avoid having to sell its TikTok operations here.
As US President Donald Trump gave Americans a deadline to stop doing business with TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance, TikTok was at the centre of a diplomatic storm between Washington and Beijing when a compulsion to sell the app to a US company emerged.
Sources report that Walmart has joined forces with Microsoft in negotiations to buy TikTok. Oracle is also reported to be interested in TikTok.
TikTok, which has been downloaded 175 million times in the US and more than a billion times around the world, has filed a lawsuit challenging the crackdown by the US government. The suit contends that Trump’s order was a misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the platform is not “an unusual and extraordinary threat.”
However, Trump claims that TikTok could be used by China to track the locations of federal employees, build dossiers on people for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage and stands firm on his decision.
Last week, Trump repeated his demand for a piece of the action from any sale of TikTok’s US operations for forcing such a deal. As a result, talks between ByteDance and the US which have been taking place for months have now grown more urgent as the deadline set by Trump nears.
When being questioned, Trump said “Well, I told them that they have until September 15th to make a deal; after that, we close it up in this country.And I said that the United States has to be compensated – well compensated – because we are the ones that are making it possible, and so we should be compensated.”
His call for the US government to get a cut of the deal was however strongly slammed by the critics contending that it appears unconstitutional and akin to extortion.