International

TikTok Owner ByteDance Buys Chinese Payments Firm UIPay

TikTok and ByteDance

ByteDance, the Chinese firm that at least for now owns all of TikTok, has purchased a Chinese payments company, Reuters reported Friday (Sept. 4).

ByteDance said it purchased payment service UIPay “in a bid to leverage its domestic payment capability,” the news service reported.

Citing data from a Chinese government business-registration database, Reuters reported that ByteDance made the acquisition by using an entity called Tianjin Tongrong E-commerce Co. to buy UIPay owner Wuhan Hezhong Yibao Technology Co. last week.

“The acquisition is to supplement the existing major payment options, and to ultimately enhance user experience on our multiple platforms in China,” ByteDance said in a statement sent to Reuters, according to the news outlet.

UIPay was established in 2012, according to the report.

Citing job postings on LinkedIn, Reuters said ByteDance is seeking to build an international cross-border payments platform.

In another expansion of its business, ByteDance reportedly applied in Singapore in June for an international banking license.

Looming over all the company’s moves is an order by President Donald Trump that ByteDance sell off its U.S. operations. The company must complete a transaction by Sept. 20 to avoid government restrictions.

In an attempt to block a forced divestiture of TikTok operations in the U.S., ByteDance has sued the federal government, arguing the platform presents no security risk.

ByteDance wrote in its complaint: “The executive order seeks to ban TikTok purportedly because of the speculative possibility that the application could be manipulated by the Chinese government. But, as the U.S. government is well aware, Plaintiffs have taken extraordinary measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok’s U.S. user data, including by having TikTok store such data outside of China (in the United States and Singapore) and by erecting software barriers that help ensure that TikTok stores its U.S. user data separately from the user data of other ByteDance products.”

As of Sept. 2, the legal teams that likely will argue the case were still taking shape, with ByteDance lawyers licensed in jurisdictions outside of California seeking permission to argue the case in federal court there.

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