ByteDance not interested in selling TikTok's US operations to Microsoft or Oracle

2020-09-14

Chinese technology firm ByteDance is not likely to sell TikTok's US operations to either or Oracle.

Chinese state broadcaster said on Monday, quoting sources at the company, that despite rumours of a deal with Oracle, the video app's maker was not interested in selling its US operations to either of the tech giants.

The South China Morning Post also reported, again citing unnamed sources, that ByteDance had decided not to sell or transfer the source code behind its popular video app to any US company.

On Sunday, Microsoft announced that ByteDance had said that the company was no longer being considered as a buyer. Redmond stated that it was confident that its proposal "would have been good for TikTok's users, while protecting national security interests".

"We would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement," the company said in a .

After Microsoft announced that it was out from the race to buy TikTok's US business, that Oracle was set to be declared as TikTok's "trusted tech partner" in the US.

A source told the WSJ that the deal was likely not to be structured as an outright sale and that the next step in the process would be approval of the deal by the White House and the Committee on Foreign Investment.

It emerged last month that $10 billion in cash, $10 billion in Oracle stock, and 50 per cent of TikTok's annual profit from US operations (for two years) to buy the video sharing app.

Zhang Yiming, chairman of ByteDance,  recently said that the firm is working to find solutions to the issues it faces globally.

"I can assure you that we are developing solutions that will be in the interest of users, creators, partners, and employees," Yiming said.

Earlier in August, US President Donald Trump imposed a 20th September deadline for ByteDance to announce a plan for a sale of its video sharing app in the US or be banned by 29th September. ByteDance was also asked to complete the deal by 12th November.

US officials are concerned that TikTok could be spying on American users and sharing their confidential data with the Chinese government.

TikTok has repeatedly denied those allegations, saying that its data centres are located outside of China, and that none of the data collected is subject to Chinese law.

Earlier this month, China's government introduced new rules on the export of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, making it mandatory for ByteDance to receive Beijing's approval before selling the TikTok to an overseas company.

In a statement, ByteDance said that it was aware of the new restrictions imposed by the government on technology exports and would "strictly comply" with them.