It is beginning to look obvious that the US finds it offensive for any Chinese company to lead the world in anything. If any company dares to top the world, it should be a US or Western company. The US does not seem to find it funny that a company from China will be a global leader.
Well, as a tech writer I saw this coming for a global phenomenon app like TikTok. TikTok suddenly began topping charts in app stores and gaining millions of new users every day. You didn’t need an expert to tell you that the US was not going to like it.
We have seen this happen to another top Chinese company. Huawei was the fastest growing mobile phone maker in the world. Its growth as doubling each and every year. To the point that, it overtook Apple to become the 2nd largest smartphone brand in the world. Of course, the company were on course to overtake Samsung as well.
Suddenly, things changed swiftly. Now Huawei cannot even compete in its own home country, China, thanks to multiple sanctions from the US.
TikTok Has About 150 Million Users in the US
In the case of TikTok, there are about 150 million of US citizens on the platform. The US is trying to take advantage of this huge number to force a sale of TikTok. However, the Chinese government has decided to step in this time around.
The Biden administration has asked Chinese shareholders of TikTok to sell their share or face a ban. The Chinese government has responded to this saying, it will firmly oppose any force sale of TikTok.
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The commerce ministry of China has emphasized that a forced sale of TikTok would seriously damage the confidence of global investors in the US.
Chinese Government May Have to Approve Before TikTok Can Be Sold
Shu Jueting, a spokesperson for the Chinese Commerce ministry said that the government would have to approve any potential deal. Hence, it will firmly oppose a forced sale of the video sharing platform.
She further explained that “The sale or divestiture of TikTok involves technology export. And administrative licensing procedures must be performed in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations”.
“The Chinese government will make a decision in accordance with the law,” she added.
Beijing did not seem to care much about a forced sale until 2020. However, the Chinese government has now decided to protect its companies now. It will do so by restricting the sale or exportation or certain Chinese technologies which includes TikTok.
Taking into consideration the latest response from Shu and previous actions from Beijing. The government may use its veto power to decide on the sale of TikTok. This comes after the Chinese officials proposed tightening the rules that govern the sale of content-based recommendation algorithms to foreign buyers.
After the Trump administration threatened to ban TikTok if it is not sold in 2020. The Chinese government added TikTok’s algorithms to the restricted technology list. One of TikTok’s biggest strength is its algorithm that helps keep users glued to the app. This works by recommending contents based on users’ behavior on the app. Thereby showing only videos they like and spend time watching.
Analysts and legal experts have suggested that China wouldn’t mind for TikTok to leave the US market rather than giving up its algorithm.