It’s starting to seem obvious that the US finds it offensive for a Chinese company to lead the world in anything. If any company dares to dominate the world, it should be an American or Western company. The United States doesn’t seem to find it funny that a Chinese company is a world leader.
Well, as a tech writer, I saw this coming for a global phenomenon app like TikTok. TikTok suddenly started dominating the app store rankings and gaining millions of new users every day. You didn’t need an expert to tell you that the United States wasn’t going to like it.
We’ve seen this happen to another big Chinese company. Huawei was the fastest growing mobile phone maker in the world. Its growth doubles every year. So much so that it overtook Apple to become the 2nd largest smartphone brand in the world. Of course, the company was also on course to overtake Samsung.
Suddenly things changed rapidly. Now Huawei can’t even compete in its own home country of China thanks to multiple US sanctions.
TikTok has about 150 million users in the United States
In the case of TikTok, there are around 150 million US citizens on the platform. The United States is trying to take advantage of this huge number to force a sale of TikTok. However, the Chinese government decided to intervene this time around.
The Biden administration has asked Chinese TikTok shareholders to sell their stake or face a ban. The Chinese government has responded to this saying, it will strongly oppose any forced sale of TikTok.
China’s Ministry of Commerce stressed that a forced sale of TikTok would seriously damage global investor confidence in the United States.
Chinese government may need to approve before TikTok can be sold
Shu Jueting, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, said the government would have to approve any potential deal. Therefore, he will strongly oppose a forced sale of the video-sharing platform.
She further explained that “the sale or transfer of TikTok involves the export of technology. And administrative licensing procedures should be carried out in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations.”
“The Chinese government will make a decision according to law,” she added.
Beijing didn’t seem to care much about a forced sale until 2020. However, the Chinese government has now decided to protect its businesses now. It will do so by restricting the sale or export of certain Chinese technologies, including TikTok.
Given Shu’s latest response and Beijing’s previous actions. The government can use its veto power to decide on the sale of TikTok. It comes after Chinese officials proposed to tighten rules that govern the sale of content-based recommendation algorithms to overseas buyers.
After the Trump administration threatened to ban TikTok if it was not sold in 2020. The Chinese government added TikTok’s algorithms to the list of restricted technologies. One of TikTok’s biggest strengths is its algorithm which helps keep users glued to the app. It works by recommending content based on user behavior on the app. Only showing the videos they like and spend time watching.
Analysts and legal experts have suggested that China would not mind TikTok exiting the US market rather than abandoning its algorithm.
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