Uncertainty Looms Large Over Trump Ordered TikTok Sale After China Places New Restrictions On Export Of AI Technologies

Swarajya Staff

Sep 01, 2020, 03:00 PM | Updated 03:00 PM IST

TikTok Logo (Official Tiktok Website)
TikTok Logo (Official Tiktok Website)

ByteDance’s hopes of quickly completing a deal with suitors for the sale of its U.S. operations of video app TikTok suffered a setback over new set of restrictions imposed by Chinese government on the export of artificial intelligence technologies, The Wall Street Journal reported.

China’s ministry of commerce on Friday (Aug 29) added AI interface technologies such as speech and text recognition, and those that analyze data to make personalized content recommendations to a revised list of export-control products. Government permits will be required for overseas transfers to "safeguard national economic security," it said.

Since the new restrictions cover technologies ByteDance uses in TikTok and will require the company to seek government consent for any potential deal, the move is likely to delay the acquisition process until after the U.S. elections in November.

“ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, will need to comply with approval procedures under China's latest revision to the catalogue of technologies that are subject to export bans or restrictions” Professor Cui Fan at the University of International Business and Economics told Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Two new items under the category of information processing technology in the computer service industry were cited by Cui as relevant in the TikTok deal, which was the "personalized information push service technology based on data analysis" and "artificial intelligence interactive interface technology."

ByteDance said in a statement the company was aware of the new restrictions and would "strictly comply with" the Chinese regulations on technology exports.

The Trump administration in early August set a mid-September deadline for ByteDance to sell its American operation.

Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. have submitted rival bids to ByteDance to acquire TikTok's U.S. business, while Centricus Asset Management Ltd. and Triller Inc. also jumped in to the fray with a last-minute pitch on Friday to buy TikTok's operations in several countries for $20 billion.

ByteDance has also sued the U.S. government in federal court, saying that it protects user data

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