TikTok deal still has a chance but WeChat ‘dead’ in the U.S., says senior administration official


There is still a chance for a deal that allow TikTok to remain operating in the U.S., a senior Trump administration official told CNBC on Friday.

However, the official said WeChat, the social messaging app owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent, is “dead in the United States.”

The developments come after the Commerce Department announced it was banning U.S. business transactions involving the TikTok and WeChat. Beginning Sunday, American companies will no longer be able to distribute WeChat and TikTok, taking away their availability in U.S. app store libraries.  

WeChat will be able to continue operating for people who have it installed on their devices, according to Commerce Department officials who spoke with reporters on the condition of anonymity Friday. But issues may arise because WeChat uses services run by U.S. firms to deliver data in the app. 

More stringent restrictions on TikTok in the U.S. are set to go into effect Nov. 12, based on the Commerce Department’s moves Friday. The actions are the latest development in a weeks-long saga that stems from President Donald Trump’s claims that the Chinese-owned apps present national security risks to American users. 

It is still possible a deal involving Oracle and Walmart to take stakes in TikTok can happen. Oracle said earlier in the week it had a deal in place with TikTok, but Trump said days later he was not ready to sign off on the proposal to make the California-based cloud company a technology partner with the social media app. Trump indicated he wanted a larger portion of the entity to be owned by U.S. partners.

Negotiations for a TikTok deal may persist through the weekend, as “a lot of major pieces” need to be resolved, including ownership structure and questions over TikTok’s software. However, the official said there is a chance for a transaction to be finalized before the Commerce Department’s latest restrictions go into effect. 

There is no appetite in the Trump administration for a separate deal involving WeChat, which is a vital app for people in the U.S. to communicate with friends and family in China. 

CNBC’s Steve Kovach contributed to this article.



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