Until now, the founder of ByteDance, which developed the TikTok service, tried to position himself as an independent entrepreneur of the international level, but the political intrigues around his brainchild forced Zhan Yiming to reconsider his disdain for government support measures in the international arena.
According to Reuters, a year ago, the TikTok service got into the epicenter of political differences between China and India, then the authorities of the first country offered the founder of ByteDance support in solving problems. Then Zhang Yiming sent mid-level specialists to negotiations with government officials, unwittingly emphasizing his readiness to rely on his own strength in solving problems in the international market.
The situation has changed this year, according to a source. Representatives of ByteDance tried to find a way out to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Washington to consult on the situation with the sale of American assets to TikTok. The Chinese Embassy forwarded the request to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and the meeting between Zhang Yiming and the Chinese ambassador to the United States never took place. The signal was perceived by the Chinese authorities as the willingness of the founder of ByteDance to dialogue on solving the company’s problems in the international arena with government support.
Reuters explains that the August 28 amendments to China’s export control rules were not coordinated with ByteDance, but were intended to serve as a signal to the United States that China is willing to defend the interests of even private companies. True, some experts now express doubts that the new restrictions on the export of software algorithms will somehow help in the situation around TikTok and are more likely to only spoil the case.
Initially, the PRC authorities planned to simply expand the sanctions list of American companies and individuals in response to TikTok’s coercion to sell the American business to a consortium of local companies. It is generally accepted that the Walmart-Microsoft alliance is now claiming these assets, and the consortium of investors led by Oracle competes with it. The price of the issue reaches $ 30 billion, but the new rules of China’s export control call into question the possibility of concluding a deal without changing the conditions.
Zhang Yiming is not a member of the Chinese Communist Party and has also publicly stated that he would not provide user information to the TikTok audience at the request of the Chinese authorities. Zhang Yiming spent two-thirds of 2019 outside the PRC, and he recently hired Disney-haired Kevin Mayer as CEO of TikTok, who has now, however, retired. In the United States, a “transparency center” was created to demonstrate to representatives of stakeholders TikTok’s approaches to information security. Departments outside the PRC were responsible for moderating content on TikTok. After the US authorities had complaints about the service, Zhang Yiming met for consultations with at least ten experts and former government officials.
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