Trump Says He Will Block Any TikTok Deal Allowing Chinese Control

Donald Trump said he might rescind his tentative blessing for a deal between Oracle and ByteDance to create a new US-based TikTok service, casting doubt on the agreement as Chinese state media signaled reluctance in Beijing, reported Bloomberg.

Speaking in an interview on Fox News on Monday September 21, Trump said he wouldn’t approve the deal if the Chinese company retains control of TikTok. However, he also indicated that he expected Chinese influence to be diluted by a future public offering of the new company.

“They will have nothing to do with it, and if they do, we just won’t make the deal,” Trump said, referring to ByteDance, which owns TikTok. “It’s going to be controlled, totally controlled by Oracle, and I guess they’re going public and they’re buying out the rest of it — they’re buying out a lot, and if we find that they don’t have total control then we’re not going to approve the deal.”

Shortly after Trump’s comments, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the China state-affiliated Global Times, tweeted that Beijing would likely reject the deal “because the agreement would endanger China’s national security, interests and dignity.”

The Global Times is a tabloid run by the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party. Hu’s tweets are closely watched after accurately forecasting previous moves by China’s government, though his statements at times don’t reflect official policy, reported Bloomberg.

ByteDance was pressured into a deal for TikTok in August, when Trump threatened to ban the app in the US over national security concerns about the service’s data gathering. After Microsoft Corp. made a proposal for a full buyout, ByteDance instead turned to Oracle’s offering, in which the Chinese parent will maintain a solid majority stake.

ByteDance may end up owning as much as 80% of TikTok Global, which would include the app’s operations in the U.S. and the rest of the world excluding China.