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TikTok China parent firm says no plans to sell app

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ByteDance says reports that it plans to sell TikTok are not true

TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance says it has no intention of selling the business after the US passed a law to force it to sell the hugely popular video app or be banned in America.

“ByteDance doesn’t have any plans to sell TikTok,” the company posted on its official account on Toutiao, a social media platform it owns.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the BBC.

Earlier this week, TikTok said it would challenge in court the “unconstitutional” law.

The statement from ByteDance came after media reports that it was exploring options to sell TikTok without the algorithm that powers it.

“Foreign media reports of ByteDance selling TikTok are not true,” the company said.

The sell-or-ban measure was signed into law by US President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Beijing’s tightening grip on private companies has raised concerns in the US, and other Western countries, about how much control the Chinese Communist Party has over ByteDance, and the data it holds.

TikTok has repeatedly denied claims the Chinese government has control over ByteDance saying its parent-company “is not an agent of China or any other country”.

According to TikTok, ByteDance’s Chinese founders own 20% of shares, through a controlling stake in the company.

About 60% is owned by institutional investors, including major US investment firms Carlyle Group, General Atlantic, and Susquehanna International Group.

The remaining 20% is owned by its employees around the world and three of ByteDance’s five board members are American.

The Chinese government has also dismissed such concerns as paranoia and has warned that a TikTok ban would “inevitably come back to bite the US”.

However, TikTok is not facing an immediate ban in the US.

The new law gives ByteDance nine months to sell the business, and an additional three-month grace period, before a potential ban can be enforced.

That means the sale deadline would most likely come some time in 2025, after the winner of the 2024 presidential election takes office.

BBC
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