ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns the popular short video app, is facing a Sept. 20 deadline to sell its U.S. operations or have them closed by the Trump administration. The president has said TikTok poses a security risk because it holds data of its American users.
Microsoft Corp., in partnership with Walmart and Oracle Corp., has been in talks to buy the company.
But sources told the news service that China’s government officials say a forced sale would make ByteDance and China look weak under the pressure from the Trump administration.
ByteDance told Reuters that the Chinese government had never suggested that it should shut down TikTok in the U.S. or in any other markets.
Neither China’s State Council Information Office nor its foreign and commerce ministries responded to requests for comment.
On Thursday (Sept. 10) in response to reporters’ questions, Trump said he will not extend the mid-September deadline, TechCrunch reported. “We’ll see what happens,” Trump said before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews. “It’ll either be closed up or they’ll sell it.”
The drama began on Aug. 6 when Trump issued an executive order to ban transactions with TikTok or its parent company within 45 days. Later, he issued a directive that gave the China-based company 90 days to divest its U.S. TikTok operations.
Last month, ByteDance filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, where TikTok’s American operations are based. ByteDance argues that Trump’s far-reaching action is unconstitutional because it failed to give the company a chance to respond. It also alleges that the administration’s national security justification for the order is false.
This week, The Wall Street Journal reported that ByteDance is in talks with the U.S. government about potential deals to steer clear of their complete sale. Sources told the newspaper that government leaders involved in the discussions have been primarily worried about the security of TikTok’s information and keeping that away from authorities in China.