The events around TikTok’s English-speaking division being sold off to Microsoft has been very fast-moving, and one party we have so far not heard of has been the Chinese government, who many believe is the main target of the action and who Donald Trump accuses of being the spymasters behind Chinese apps.
Today however the Chinese government broke its silence, via an editorial in the state-owned China Daily, and they are pretty angry.
Calling the forced deal “robbery” and “theft”, they said the deal, which has a deadline of only 6 weeks to complete, amounted to a “smash and grab” of a Chinese company’s intellectual property, reports UPI, saying:
“Since 2017, the United States has investigated [TikTok] parent company] ByteDance over its acquisition of a social media app … which was fully rebranded as part of TikTok in 2018. Yet the White House has found no evidence indicating violation of any regulations by the Chinese company.”
“By slapping a deadline on the potential deal, Trump has effectively turned transaction into a fire sale, further pressuring Beijing-based ByteDance to give up its business interests and intellectual property at a discounted rate,” the state-run newspaper wrote.
Donald Trump has demanded the US government get a share of the deal, and the newspaper said the action marked US out as a rogue nation.
“This is an open robbery,” editor-in-chief Hu Xijin tweeted. “The world is watching and God is watching how President Trump is turning the once great America into a rogue country.”
TikTok is believed to have 100 million users in USA and Vanessa Pappas, the U.S. general manager for TikTok, said the company has received an “outpouring from support” since Trump proposed the ban.
“We’re not planning on going anywhere,” she said. “When it comes to safety and security, we’re building the safest app because we know it’s the right thing to do. We’re here for the long run.”
Microsoft for its part promised to conclude the deal quickly, saying:
“Microsoft will move quickly to pursue discussions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in a matter of weeks, and in any event completing these discussions no later than September 15, 2020. During this process, Microsoft looks forward to continuing dialogue with the United States Government, including with the President.”
The Chinese government, via the China Daily, however, threatened that it had “plenty of ways to respond if Trump’s administration carries out its planned smash and grab.”