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TikTok Will Not Be Sold, Chinese Parent Tells US

ByteDance says a report it plans to sell TikTok ‘are not true’

TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance says, it has no intention of selling the business after the US passed a law to force it to sell the hugely popular video app or be banned in America.

“ByteDance doesn’t have any plans to sell TikTok,” the company posted on its official account on Toutiao, a social media platform it owns.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.

Earlier this week, TikTok said it would challenge in court the “unconstitutional” law.

The statement from ByteDance came in response to an article by the technology industry website The Information that said it was exploring the potential sale of TikTok’s operation in the US without the algorithm that powers it.

“Foreign media reports of ByteDance selling TikTok are not true,” the company said in the post, which included a screen shot of the article with the Chinese characters meaning “false rumor” stamped on it.

The sell-or-ban measure was signed into law by US President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Beijing’s tightening grip on private companies has raised concerns in the US, and other Western countries, about how much control the Chinese Communist Party has over ByteDance, and the data it holds.

Read Also: TikTok Strikes Deal With African Union

TikTok has repeatedly denied claims the Chinese government has control over ByteDance.

“We are confident and we will keep fighting for your rights in the courts,” said TikTok boss Shou Zi Chew in a video posted on the platform this week.

“The facts, and the Constitution, are on our side… rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere.”

According to TikTok, ByteDance’s Chinese founder owns 20% of shares, through a controlling stake in the company.

About 60% is owned by institutional investors, including major US investment firms Carlyle Group, General Atlantic, and Susquehanna International Group.

The remaining 20% is owned by its employees around the world and three of ByteDance’s five board members are American.

The Chinese government has also dismissed such concerns as paranoia and has warned that a TikTok ban would “inevitably come back to bite the US”.

However, TikTok is not facing an immediate ban in the US.

The new law gives ByteDance nine months to sell the business, and an additional three-month grace period, before a potential ban can be enforced.

That means the sale deadline would most likely come sometime in 2025, after the winner of the 2024 presidential election takes office. — BBC

Source: BBC via SG.

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