ByteDance says TikTok proposal will need both Chinese and US approval

BEIJING: ByteDance’s proposal for US software firm Oracle Corp to become a technology partner in its TikTok app will ultimately need approval from both Chinese and US officials, the company said on Thursday.

The proposal, submitted to the Trump administration over the weekend, envisages Oracle becoming a “trusted” technology partner and making TikTok Global a US-headquartered company.

A person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that ByteDance is to hold majority ownership of TikTok.

US President Donald Trump has ordered ByteDance to divest TikTok amid US concerns user data could be passed to China’s Communist Party government.

He has said he would ban TikTok in the US as early as Sunday if ByteDance does not comply.

Reuters has reported that the Oracle deal would not require ByteDance to apply to Chinese authorities for an export licence for TikTok’s algorithm.

The company also told state-backed newspaper Global Times on Thursday that a sale of TikTok’s operations or technologies is not included in its proposal to the US. ByteDance declined to comment when asked about this detail by Reuters.

Trump on Wednesday raised questions about ByteDance’s plans to keep a majority stake in TikTok’s US operations and said he did not favour the idea of the Chinese firm retaining control, after six Republican lawmakers urged him to reject the proposal.

China late last month updated its export control rules to give it a say over the transfer of technology, such as TikTok’s user recommendation algorithm, to a foreign buyer.

Chinese officials have said ByteDance should not be coerced by the US into a deal.