Trump gives TikTok owner 6 weeks to sell app to US company

Chinese owned TikTok app logo
Ernest Sunday

United States President Donald Trump has given the owner of popular TikTok app six weeks to sell its US operation to an American company.

Trump gave the order on Monday saying is either the app which is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing company found by Zhang Yiming is sold, or it would be "out of business."

The President also demanded that the US government wanted a financial benefit from the deal.

"It's got to be an American company… it's got to be owned here," Trump said. "We don't want to have any problem with security."

The United State government fears the insecurity of the app which makes 60-second videos with its smartphone can bring to the country as it is managed by a Chinese company which may leak the country's data to Chinese intelligence.

The ByteDance has until the middle of September to sell the app or taking the risk of losing its US operation.

"I set a date of around September 15, at which point it's going to be out of business in the United States," he said.

Whatever the price is, he said, "The United States should get a very large percentage of that price because we're making it possible."

The president said that any company buying the TikTok app is going to give the government a percentage from the deal as the government is serving as an agent initiating the deal to happen.

"TikTok is a big success, but a big portion of it is in the country," he said. "I think it's very fair."

"A very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States because we're making it possible for this deal to happen," Trump told reporters.

"They don't have any rights unless we give it to them," he said.

TikTok has been one of the most widely used apps in the world as it allows users to create a short video which often features music in the background, can be sped up, slowed down or edited with a filter.

The app which has its branch in Los Angeles has been under investigation under the US national security because it keeps large amounts of personal data from its users which the company can share with the authorities in Beijing whenever the need arises.

ByteDance would consider selling their US branch because shutting down the company branch could push users to switch to other competitors, thereby losing their ground.

According to the investment analysts at Light shed Partners, “The most obvious beneficiaries are Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, with Snapchat likely being the biggest beneficiary."

The ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming on Monday said that the pressure is on them and the Chinese media has reported that a letter he sent to staff, read that they were working tirelessly "for the best outcome".

“We have always been committed to ensuring user data security, as well as the platform neutrality and transparency,” Zhang said.

According to Britain’s The Sun newspaper Monday, it said that ByteDance is planning to relocate TikTok’s global operations to Britain.

The Chinese foreign ministry has criticized the US government over the demand of Tiktok app to be sold.

“The US is using an abused concept of national security and, without providing any evidence, is making presumptions of guilt and issuing threats to relevant companies,” said spokesman Wang Wenbin.

“This goes against the principle of market economy and exposes the hypocrisy and typical double standards of the US in upholding so-called fairness and freedom,” he added.

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