As the deadline for the acquisition of TikTok by a US company approaches, president Trump reaffirmed that there’s no going back on his executive order, and the embattled video app has four days to be acquired by a US company or gets closed down. Trump said he is not ready to extend time for the sale of TikTok’s US operations and the company must find a buyer before September 15.
“We’ll see what happens. It will either be closed up or they’ll sell it. So we’ll either close up TikTok in this country for security reasons, or it’ll be sold,” Trump told reporters on Thursday. “I’m not extending deadlines, no. it’s September 15th. There will be no extension of TikTok deadline.”
TikTok has been weighing its choices and exploring options to save itself from US shutdown. In August, the video app sued the US government in a bid to stop it from affecting the executive order mandating TikTok’s sale by September 15, claiming that the order did not follow due process.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is lobbying White House officials to see if the September 15 deadline could be pushed back. But Trump’s statement on Thursday suggests that Washington is standing its ground its executive order.
To make life more difficult for TikTok, the Chinese government on Friday August 28, updated its list of technologies subject to export restrictions to cover a number of new areas that includes voice recognition and chip design. The update means that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, will need Chinese government’s approval to sell the app, and the Chinese government is not ready to grant such approval for now.
In response to the new law, ByteDance said it will strictly abide by laws in countries where it is operational.
“We are studying the new regulations that were released Friday. As with any cross-border transaction, we will follow the applicable laws, which in this case include those of the US and China,” ByteDance General Counsel Erich Andersen said in a statement.
TikTok has been in talks with Microsoft, Walmart and Oracle for acquisition, but the talks appear to be taking too long without a deal reached.
The Chinese government has been critical of the United States move against TikTok, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin, called Trump’s executive order a “naked act of bullying” adding that the US government would eventually reap what it sows.
Beijing’s update of its list of export restrictions to include technology seems like a game plan to stall the US’ attempt to force TikTok’s sale. But it doesn’t get the app out of the loop, it only makes it more complicated.
With the September 15 deadline for TikTok’s sale fast approaching, TikTok has been caught in a swirl of power tussle between China and the United States without a way out. The US has until October 26 to respond to the suit filed by TikTok, at that time the executive order would have taken effect.
It is uncertain that TikTok will find a buyer on time to beat the deadline. Therefore, the short video app may be counting on the outcome of the November presidential election.