TikTok: This is what happens next

TikTok

On Thursday, President Trump stated that he does not plan to extend a deadline for ByteDance to market TikTok’s US business, with the process still mired in uncertainty and political wrangling.

President Trump has repeatedly said the deadline for the sale of the brief video program is the 15th of September, although this was not the date stipulated in either of the two executive orders his government issued in August.

The very first purchase, banning US businesses from transacting with the Chinese company or its subsidiaries, gave a September the 20th deadline. The second, with a deadline of the 12th of November, needs that ByteDance market TikTok due to national security concerns.

Microsoft and Oracle are among the suitors for TikTok’s US assets. Operations in Canada, New Zealand and Australia are also part of the deal.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told journalists from our partner news agency Reuters the administration is not picking winners and losers in the TikTok deal and that it’s waiting for new developments to unfold, without offering more details.

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Kudlow didn’t provide more clarity on the confusion within the deadline.

A MOVING DEADLINE

Trump first told reporters on July 31 he intended to ban TikTok in the United States over 24 hours.

But on Aug. 3, after Microsoft disclosed it was in talks to buy parts of TikTok, Trump said he would give ByteDance 45 days to sell to an American-based buyer. Then, on August 6, Trump issued the executive order banning transactions with ByteDance and its affiliates in 45 days, efficiently a 20th of September deadline.

WHO IS NEEDED TO APPROVE A DEAL?

ByteDance and the possible TikTok buyers need to Think of a deal acceptable to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency group.

The Trump government does not need ByteDance to possess any continuing interest in TikTok, also expects a tech company to be the lead investor in the short video program.

China’s commerce ministry joined the celebration on August 28 with a revised technician export control list that experts said would give it regulatory supervision over any TikTok deal.

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This implies Beijing’s sign-off is likely to be needed, too, something many observers doubt will happen instantly. The rules say it may take around 30 days to obtain preliminary approval to export the technology.

Last week, when asked about how the rules can impact the TikTok deal, the Chinese commerce ministry said the regulatory changes are not targeted at particular companies, but reaffirmed their right to apply the rules.

IF NO DEAL BY THE DEADLINE

If the deadline is not extended, then trades with TikTok would be prohibited, although exactly which ones has not been specified.

Reuters has reported the executive order can make advertisements on the platform prohibited and TikTok has been coordinating advertisers for such an outcome.

The US is very likely to prohibit TikTok from being downloaded from app shops, as we have previously reported.

But it is uncertain if there are transactions which may be prohibited that would prevent users who have already downloaded TikTok from using it.

When faced with a ban in India, where the app has incredibly popular, TikTok chose to shut down voluntarily.

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OTHER OPTIONS?

TikTok and ByteDance filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court on August the 24th from Trump’s executive order, calling it a pretext to gas anti-China rhetoric.

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S SECOND ORDER

On August the 14th, the Trump administration issued another executive order that required ByteDance to divest its interest in video-sharing app TikTok’s operations in the US over 90 days. This implies a deadline of November the 12th.

The second sequence did not say exactly what might happen if ByteDance failed to honour.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Yingzhi Yang in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai. Additional reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington. Editing by Alexander Smith and Leslie Adler.

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