Technology Sep 22

Beijing 'unlikely to approve TikTok deal' with Oracle

Chinese mouthpiece Global Times says ByteDance hopes to settle row over Trump ban must wait longer

by Josh Horwitz
Beijing 'unlikely to approve TikTok deal' with Oracle
"It is clear that these articles (terms) extensively show Washington's bullying style and hooligan logic,” state-run newspaper says. Photo: Reuters

SHANGHAI: A deal that China's ByteDance has struck with Oracle and Walmart over the future of its video-streaming app TikTok is unlikely to receive Chinese government approval, state-backed newspaper Global Times said in an editorial.

ByteDance has said it will create an American subsidiary, TikTok Global, that will be part-owned by Oracle and Walmart – which in turn said TikTok Global's board would comprise mainly Americans. The move is hoped to pacify the administration of President Donald Trump, which had planned to ban TikTok on security grounds.

"It is clear that these articles (terms) extensively show Washington's bullying style and hooligan logic. They hurt China's national security, interests and dignity," said the English version of the editorial published late on Monday and which was also carried in the newspaper's Chinese edition.

TECH ROW: TikTok agreement on very shaky ground

The unidentified author objected to a requirement that four of the five board seats of TikTok Global be occupied by Americans and only one reserved for a Chinese national, as well as the inclusion of a U.S-approved "national security director".

It also denounced a requirement that ByteDance reveal TikTok's source code to Oracle as part of the latter's stake purchase, as well as the separate management of TikTok from Chinese equivalent Douyin.

"As TikTok and Douyin should have the same source code, this means the U.S. can get to know the operations of Douyin," the editorial continued.

"If the reorganisation of TikTok under US manipulation becomes a model, it means once any successful Chinese company expands its business to the US and becomes competitive, it will be targeted by the US and turned into a US-controlled company via trickery and coercion, which eventually serves only US interests," the author wrote.

The Global Times is a tabloid published by the People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, but does not speak on behalf of the party and government unlike its parent publication.

Over the weekend, ByteDance and Oracle announced they had reached a deal that would satisfy Trump's call for TikTok to be sold to an American buyer or face shutdown in the United States.

However, both sides have framed the deal differently in public statements.

ByteDance has said TikTok Global will be its subsidiary, of which it will own 80%.

Oracle has said ByteDance's ownership would be distributed to ByteDance's investors, many of which are US-based and that the Beijing-based firm itself would have no stake in TikTok Global.

The deal requires approval from regulators in both Beijing and Washington.

  • Reuters