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Application For Tech Export Licence Filed By ByteDance In China Amid TikTok Deal Talks

Application For Tech Export Licence Filed By ByteDance In China Amid TikTok Deal Talks
The Chinese owner of the popular short video sharing app TikTok, ByteDance, has been reported to have applied with the Chinese authorities for a tech export license as is now required under the emended tech export low of the country even as it is trying to seal a deal with two American companies Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc, both of which have agreed to take a share in the app, which the Chinese company hopes will satisfy the United States administration and prevent  a ban on the US operations of the app.
ByteDance said in a statement on its Toutiao account on Thursday that the company had filed the application with Beijing's municipal commerce bureau. Currently no decision on the application has been taken by the Chinese authorities.
The Chinese firm however did not make it clear whether the application for the export license as related to ongoing deal with Oracle and Walmart over the future of the US operations of TikTok.
A revision in the list of technologies that were either banned or restricted to be exported out of China was done last month by Beijing – a first such change in the law in 12 years since it was put into force. According to analysts, this move by Beijing is a way for it to have a say in the potential sale of the US operations of TikTok to American companies. A complete sale can only be possible if ByteDance allows it to hand over the codes of the algorithms that run TikTok which China considers to an export of tech form the country. 
Last week, the Chinese firm had confirmed the creation of a standalone US company for TikTok called TikTok Global according to the deal with Oracle and Walmart. However the deal has to be ratified and passed by the United States and China.
Over the weekend and on Monday, the three companies had issued conflicting details of the deal and the terms of the preliminary agreement that had been reached between them. Since then there have been doubts whether the White House and the US president Donald Trump would approve of the deal. 
According to ByteDance’s version of the deal with Oracle and Walmart, TikTok Global will be a subsidiary of the Chinese company and it will have complete control over the new company with an 80 per cent share of the company.
However in a statement that contradicted ByteDance’s claim, Oracle and WalMart had said that the majority ownership of the proposed new company would be in American hands which would be in line with the August 14 executive order that was issued by Trump which mandated that ByteDance is required to relinquish ownership of TikTok within 90 days for the app to remain functional in the US.
According to narratives of reports and editorials published in the Chinese state media outlets China Daily and the Global Times earlier this week, Beijing sees no reasons for approving the deal between ByteDance and Oracle and Walmart and said that the deal was based on "bullying and extortion".

Christopher J. Mitchell

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