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ByteDance Likely to Miss Trump Deadline to Sell TikTok

A man holding a phone walks past a TikTok sign, at the International Artificial Products Expo in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, October 18, 2019. (Stringer/Reuters)

TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance is likely to miss the upcoming deadline imposed by the Trump administration to sell off the video-sharing app’s U.S. assets due to new Chinese regulations that have hampered negotiations with potential U.S. buyers.

Talks with Microsoft and Oracle on buying TikTok’s U.S. operations have been delayed by the Chinese regulatory review, Bloomberg reported. The Chinese software company may now be unable to meet President Trump’s September 15 deadline for the company to reach an agreement to divest from its U.S. operations or be blacklisted in America.

In early August, Trump issued an executive order requiring ByteDance to find an American buyer for TikTok by September 15, and if they fail to secure a purchaser, Trump said he would shut down the app in the U.S. effective September 20.

“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance,” which is based in Beijing, “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump wrote in his executive order.

“Right now they don’t have any rights unless we give it to them. So if we’re going to give them the rights, then … it has to come into this country,” Trump said in announcing the order. “It’s a great asset, but it’s not a great asset in the United States unless they have approval in the United States.”

TikTok responded by suing the U.S. government late last month, accusing the Trump administration of denying the company its due process rights by moving to ban the app.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he supports a potential ban on TikTok and warned that Chinese software companies doing business in the United States are “feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party, their national security apparatus … These are true national security issues.”

Last month, Republican Senator Josh Hawley demanded that Microsoft assure that TikTok has severed all ties with the Chinese Communist Party as a prerequisite of any potential acquisition of the app.

The Missouri Republican argued that if TikTok is allowed to preserve ties with its parent company or the Chinese government, vulnerabilities in the app could allow the Chinese Communist Party to collect the data of Americans.

ByteDance has claimed that the Chinese government has no jurisdiction over TikTok because the app does not exist in China.

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