One of the reasons why companies acquire other companies is for their technology. However, it seems that whoever acquires TikTok might actually end up getting the short end of the stick because according to a report from the South China Morning Post, ByteDance is willing to sell TikTok, but not its source code.
ByteDance is currently caught between a rock and a hard place. If they hope to keep TikTok alive, they will need to sell off the company before the 15th of September to a US company. However, China has imposed new rules that would prevent the export of Chinese technology unless given explicit permission by the government.
According to this report, this would be a compromise where TikTok’s operations would be handed off to a US company, but the source code would not. The publication’s source told them that the TikTok team in the US would be free to go ahead and build their own algorithm, although we kind of think it defeats the point since TikTok’s recommendation algorithm was kind of its selling point to begin with.
Obviously we imagine that whoever is interested in acquiring the company would be less than thrilled since they would essentially be acquiring additional employees, but not the main technology that drives TikTok. We had previously heard that ByteDance was in talks to potentially avoid selling TikTok altogether, but with the 15th of September looming, it remains to be seen how this will play out.