Bytedance is currently being forced by so sell their US division by the Trump administration, but whoever buys it may end up getting a shell of the product, following a recent move by the Chinese government.
China has just updated the list of their export restrictions, and that list now includes “personalized push technology based on data analysis“, a move which is felt to be targetted directly at the sale of TikTok.
TikTok is unique amongst social networks in being focussed on sending content in your direction mainly based on what the AI thinks you are interested in, rather than your social graph.
New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose has argued that TikTok’s algorithms “could be the most valuable asset the company owns,” an asset whose export is now being restricted by the Chinese government.
While China has been outraged by the moves of the US Government, this appears to be their first intentional action to interfere with the sale.
Currently, Bytedance has until the 12th November to close the deal, with an ever-changing roster of potential purchases ranging from Oracle to Microsoft to Twitter and more all vying for the property.