China tightens tech export controls jeopardizing TikTok deal, reports say

The TikTok app icon sits displayed on a smartphone in front the national flags of China and the U.S. in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020.

Hollie Adams | Bloomberg | Getty Images

An updated export rule from China could jeopardize the sale of TikTok’s  U.S. operations, according to reports published Saturday in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. 

According to the reports, China updated its export control rules to incorporate technology that could include TikTok, a claim later reasserted by commentary published in China’s state-controlled Xinhua news agency on Saturday.

Cui Fan, a professor of international trade in Beijing, told Xinhua that ByteDance would probably have to get approval from the Chinese government and suggested the company may have to suspend negotiations on TikTok’s sale. 

CNBC reported Thursday that TikTok would announce the sale of its U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand operations in the coming days in a deal worth $20 billion to $30 billion. ByteDance is considering offers from multiple companies, including Oracle and a joint bid from Walmart and Microsoft. 

President Donald Trump issued an executive order earlier this month that would ban U.S. transactions with TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. The company filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the Trump administrations’ efforts to block TikTok on Monday. 

TikTok wasn’t immediately available for comment regarding the reports. 

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