The potential sale of TikTok to Microsoft might not be so simple, with the Chinese government already threatening to block the acquisition.
China Daily, a state-controlled media outlet in Beijing, said: “China will by no means accept the ‘theft’ of a Chinese technology company, and it has plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab”, in an editorial on Tuesday.
The editorial also claimed that the US had previously threatened to ban TikTok “with the aim of getting what the US administration wants” and accused the Trump administration of “bullying” Chinese tech companies.
While countries like the US, India and even Australia having been highly-critical of TikTok’s relationship with the Chinese government, it seems Chinese users of the app are unhappy with the willingness to give in to President Trump’s demands.
Chinese social media users have been threatening to uninstall ByteDance’s Chinese version of TikTok, named Douyin, since Microsoft made its announcement.
The concerns coming out of China will no doubt be heightened in the coming days, with President Donald Trump having told the press the government wants a “very big” cut of the deal.
“We have all the cards, without us you can’t come into the United States,” Trump said.
“If they make a deal for TikTok, whether it’s the 30 per cent in the United States or the whole company, I say, ‘it’s ok, but if you do that, we’re really making it possible because we’re letting you operate here.”
ByteDance (the company that owns TikTok) founder Zhang Yiming has since been forced to defend the app’s potential sale to the company’s Chinese employees.
“I actually understand (the criticism),” Zhang said in the letter, according to Reuters.
“People have high expectations of a company founded by a Chinese person which is going global but have little information about it. With lots of grievances towards the U.S. government, they tend to lash out at us with harsh criticism.”
In Australia, Federal MPS have reportedly told the Sydney Morning Herald that the sale of TikTok to Microsoft would alleviate the current security concerns around the app.
The government is currently investigating TikTok and how it shares user data as part of two seperate inquiries into foreign interference.
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