The US government has given TikTok until the middle of the month to find itself a buyer if they hope to continue operating in the country. Of course, given how successful TikTok is, it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that China has introduced a new rule regarding the export of technology to other countries, which in turn could throw a wrench in the US government’s plans.

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The new ruling basically says that if companies wish to export Chinese technology to other markets, it will require government approval. While it does not explicitly mention TikTok, there are some who believe that this could impact the deal.

According to Cui Fan, a professor of international trade at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, “ByteDance has a number of cutting-edge technologies in artificial intelligence and other fields, and some technologies may be covered by the adjusted list.”

Alex Capri, a visiting senior fellow at the National University of Singapore adds, “There is genuine concern on the Chinese part if American companies do acquire Chinese interests, systems and Chinese business models, they would somehow be accessing and giving up technology they see as ground breaking. Or possibly they’ll see it as granting Western agents forensic access to Chinese technology.”

Right now Microsoft is the frontrunner as the most likely candidate that could acquire TikTok, but given this new wrinkle, it is unclear if they will be able to meet the imposed deadline. TikTok has also reportedly prepared a contingency plan in the eventuality that they might end up getting banned.

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