ByteDance, the owner of short-video platform TikTok, has offered to sell its American operations in order to protect its presence in the US market. On Saturday, Trump announced that he would ban the app because of concerns that ByteDance was passing on American users’ data to the Chinese government. Microsoft is in ongoing discussions with ByteDance about buying TikTok’s operations in US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
ByteDance has become one of the world’s most valuable start-ups and was recently valued at $100 billion. TikTok is the first Chinese internet company to win a large global audience. However, this has not come without complications and TikTok has faced huge controversies recently.
Concerns that the app may pose a threat to national security have been raised in other Western countries, as well as among White House officials. TikTok was banned from India in June amid an escalation in border tensions between the two countries. ByteDance also halted plans to set up a TikTok HQ in London in July due to tensions between the UK and China over Hong Kong and Huawei.
The topic was much discussed on Chinese social media and hit 930 million views and 77,000 comments on Weibo. Chinese netizens felt disappointed by ByteDance’s decision, claiming that it undermines China’s strength as a nation.
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