BUSINESS ByteDance clarifies rumors over TikTok US business


ByteDance clarifies rumors over TikTok US business

Global Times

11:52, September 21, 2020

TikTok. Photo: VCG

ByteDance, Oracle and Wal-Mart have agreed in principle to cooperate with TikTok to ensure that 100 million US users can continue to use the app, meet US government regulatory requirements, and strengthen TikTok's US business, the Chinese technology company said in a statement on Monday.

The three parties will push forward negotiations and hope to reach an agreement for cooperation that meets the legal requirements of the US and China as soon as possible, the company said.

The remarks came as TikTok found itself at the center of the Trump administration's campaign to squeeze foreign technology firms, and amidst a barrage of rumors about any potential deal with a US partner as the company enters a critical stage in negotiations to continue operations in the country.

Rumors claimed that since TikTok Global's main shareholder will be an American investor, ByteDance would lose control of TikTok.

However, the company on Monday clarified that TikTok Global is a 100 percent owned subsidiary of ByteDance, based in the US. TikTok Global plans to launch a small pre-IPO round that will make it an 80 percent owned subsidiary of ByteDance.

TikTok Global will also launch a public offering to further enhance its corporate governance structure and transparency, the company said.

Other rumors suggested that Oracle may use and own TikTok's source code, but the company explained that while Oracle has security access to TikTok's US source code, the current scheme does not involve any transfer of algorithms or technologies.

Displaying source code is a common solution for multinationals facing local data security concerns, ByteDance said, citing the example of Microsoft setting up a technology Transparency Center in Beijing in 2016, where Chinese technology experts can check the source code of Microsoft products and services to test their security.

TikTok Global was also rumored to be paying $5 billion to America's Treasury for the scheme, which the company also denies.

"The so-called $5 billion payment to the US Treasury is a projection of the corporate and other operating taxes TikTok will need to pay to grow its business over the next few years," the statement said, noting that TikTok is confident about the future, but that actual amount of tax will depend on the state of future business and the US tax structure. The tax projections are unrelated to the partnership.

Yet more rumors swirled that TikTok would have to pay into a $5 billion education fund, which the company also denied, saying that they had first learned about it when the read the news.

However, ByteDance noted that the company is committed to investing in education and plans to work with partners and global stakeholders to launch online classroom programs based on AI and video technology for students around the world.

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