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Elena Chachko

  • New Chinese rules could complicate a sale of TikTok’s US business

    August 31, 2020

    China appears to have complicated efforts to sell TikTok to an American company by introducing new rules that could allow Beijing to veto any potential deal. The twist in the TikTok saga stems from notices published by the Chinese government on Friday, when officials revised rules that govern the sale of certain kinds of technology to foreign buyers. The updated list includes data processing, speech and text recognition — the kind of tech that experts say is used by the popular short-form video app. The announcement marked the first time those rules have been revised since 2008. China's Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Science and Technology said the changes were meant to "formalize the management of technology export" and "protect national security." The notices did not name TikTok or its Beijing-based owner ByteDance, but experts have pointed out that the rule change would likely require ByteDance to obtain government permission before it could sell TikTok to a foreign company...China has repeatedly pushed back against the Trump administration's treatment of TikTok, calling it "blatant bullying" in the name of national security. The latest move could be posturing by Beijing, said Elena Chachko, lecturer on law at Harvard Law School, who added that the government may be engaging in "a tit-for-tat dynamic." But China is also "making clear that the United States doesn't have full control over the future of US TikTok operations and a potential TikTok sale," she added.