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China's latest tech export controls may influence TikTok deal

Zhu Shenshen
ByteDance may need a new license to sell TikTok assets, which include artificial intelligence algorithms and other technologies, industry insiders said.
Zhu Shenshen

A presumptive deal to sell TikTok, with potential buyers including Microsoft, Walmart and Oracle, may be delayed or amended as the company has to meet the latest update of China’s export control rules announced last week.

China has revised the catalogue of technologies that are subject to export bans or restrictions, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Friday.

“We are studying the new regulations that were released on Friday. As with any cross-border transaction, we will follow the applicable laws, which in this case include those of the US and China,” ByteDance’s General Counsel Erich Andersen said in a statement.

Beijing-based ByteDance is the parent firm of TikTok. The popular Internet video application is being forced to sell its US operations before the US administration bans the application under a September deadline.

With China’s latest tech export rules, ByteDance may need a new license to sell TikTok assets, which include artificial intelligence algorithms and other technologies, industry insiders said.

The revised catalogue, released jointly by the MOC and the Ministry of Science and Technology, added new items subject to export restrictions including AI technologies as “personalized information push service technology based on data analysis.” The technology is used in TikTok to provide customized video recommendations.

The update will standardize the administration of technology export, promote scientific and technological development, enhance economic and technological cooperation with other countries and safeguard China’s economic security, the MOC said.

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