Chinese owner ByteDance tells US it won't sell TikTok
image caption, A report that Byte Dance plans to sell TikTok is “not true”

  • author, Joao da Silva
  • stock, Business Correspondent

TikTok's Chinese parent ByteDance says it has no intention of selling the business after the US passed legislation forcing it to sell the hugely popular video app or face a ban in the US.

“ByteDance has no plans to sell TikTok,” the company, which owns social media platform Toutiao, said on its official account.

TikTok did not immediately respond to the BBC's request for comment.

Earlier this week, TikTok said it would challenge the “unconstitutional” law in court.

Byte Dance's statement came in response to an article by tech industry website The Information, which said it was exploring a possible sale of TikTok's operations in the US.

“Foreign media reports about Byte Dance selling TikTok are not true,” the company said in the post, which included a screenshot of an article in Chinese characters labeled “false rumor.”

image caption, Byte Dance denied the report on its own social media platform

US President Joe Biden signed the Sell or Ban Act into law on Wednesday.

Beijing's tightening grip on private companies has raised concerns in the United States and other Western countries about how much control the Chinese Communist Party has over Byte Dance and the data it holds.

TikTok has repeatedly denied claims that the Chinese government controls Byte Dance.

“We are confident and we will continue to fight for your rights in the courts,” TikTok boss Sho Ji Siu said in a video posted on the platform this week.

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“Facts and the Constitution are on our side… Rest assured, we're not going anywhere.”

According to TikTok, ByteDance's Chinese founder holds a 20% stake in the company through a controlling stake.

About 60% is owned by institutional investors, including major US investment firms Carlyle Group, General Atlantic and Susquehanna International Group.

The remaining 20% ​​is owned by its employees around the world and three of Byte Dance's five board members are American.

The Chinese government has dismissed such concerns as paranoia and has warned that the TikTok ban will “inevitably come back to bite the US”.

However, TikTok does not face an immediate ban in the US.

The new law gives Byte Dance nine months to sell the business, and an additional three months before the ban is enforced.

That means the deadline for the sale could come in 2025, after the winner of the 2024 presidential election takes office.

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