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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

ByteDance is considering new corporate structures for its TikTok business, as it comes under political pressure in the U.S. and other countries for ties to China's government, per the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The Beijing-based firm is the world's most valuable privately held tech company, estimated to be worth upwards of $110 billion by direct investors and $150 billion in recent secondary market trades.

  • ByteDance shareholders include General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital China, KKR, Hillhouse Capital, and Yuri Milner.

The bottom line: "ByteDance’s discussions about changing how TikTok is run are still in their early stages, but setting up an independent TikTok management board would allow a degree of autonomy from the parent company," says the Journal.

Go deeper

Oct 6, 2020 - World

Exclusive: Top German official hushed up report on China’s influence

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A high-ranking German official suppressed a sensitive intelligence report in 2018 on China’s growing influence in Germany out of fear it would damage business ties with China, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Business interests have long shaped Germany’s relationship with China, to the detriment of human rights concerns and even national security. 

Cyber war scales up with new Microsoft hack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last week's revelation of a new cyberattack on thousands of small businesses and organizations, on top of last year's SolarWinds hack, shows we've entered a new era of mass-scale cyber war.

Why it matters: In a world that's dependent on interlocking digital systems, there's no escaping today's cyber conflicts. We're all potential victims even if we're not participants.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
8 mins ago - Science

Spaceflight contests and our future in orbit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wealthy private citizens are increasingly becoming the arbiters of who can go to space — and some of them want to bring the average person along for the ride.

Why it matters: Space is being opened up to people who wouldn't have had the prospect of flying there even five years ago, but these types of missions have far-reaching implications for who determines who gets to make use of space and for what.