Updated Mar 23, 2023 - Technology

China would "resolutely oppose" forced sale of TikTok

TikTok logo

The TikTok logo is seen on a mobile with China's cyber code displayed on the screen. Photo Illustration: Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

China would “resolutely oppose” the U.S. forcing ByteDance to sell its stake in the U.S. version of TikTok, a spokesperson for Beijing's Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

Driving the news: Such a sale “would seriously damage investors from multiple countries including China” and harm “confidence to invest in the United States,” said Shu Jueting, the spokeswoman.

Catch up quick: The Biden Administration, citing national security concerns, warned TikTok earlier this month that it faces a ban in the U.S. if ByteDance doesn't sell its stake in the U.S. version of the app.

  • FBI director Chris Wray told a Senate Committee that the Chinese Communist Party has the ability to control the software on millions of devices because of its ties to ByteDance.
  • As the U.S., the EU, Canada and other countries have moved to impose bans and other restrictions on the app on official government devices, China's ruling Communist Party has said there's no evidence that TikTok threatens national security.
  • In response to the Biden administration’s ultimatum, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has said forcing a sale would not address national security concerns.
  • The company has said that U.S. user data is accessible only by Oracle Cloud and by TikTok U.S. data security team.

Our thought bubble via Axios’ Sara Fischer: China reportedly opposed a sale of TikTok’s algorithm when TikTok was in talks with a U.S. company in 2020, arguing that doing so would violate export control laws China passed that year.

  • There’s no reason to believe that position has changed.

What to watch: TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday.

Axios' Han Chen contributed reporting to this story.

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