ByteDance CEO: Trump administration’s ultimate goal is to ban TikTok

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Zhang Yiming said he “feels” the US government’s goal is “not necessarily a forced sale” of TikTok, “but given the current macroeconomic situation, a ban or even more”, according to a translation of the memo sent to the Chinese company. employees made available by the company.

Microsoft (MSFT) confirmed he was in talks to buy TikTok from ByteDance after President Donald Trump said he was seeking to ban the app. Trump said he was giving the two companies until Sept. 15 to strike a deal, otherwise he would go ahead with a ban.

U.S. government officials have repeatedly expressed concern that TikTok could pose a threat to national security if the data it collects on its U.S. users ends up in the hands of the Chinese government. Under Chinese law, companies may be forced to comply with government requests. TikTok, however, said it stores its data outside of China and will resist any attempt by Beijing to capture this information.

Zhang did not directly address the discussions with Microsoft, instead focusing on employee thanks for suffering a wave of criticism he and the company had received on social media in recent days.

“A lot of people are irritated by some of the actions of the current US government, and that leads to a lot of personal criticism of me. However, many people misunderstand the current and complex situation, ”he wrote.

Addressing what he called anti-Chinese sentiment, Zhang went on to say that employees should know that the company must accept “the misconceptions in the market, and we must be patient and not let the frustrations run out.” term hamper our long – term success. ”

“In countries like the United States, in the current environment, some politicians have attacked China and, in turn, Chinese companies with force, making it difficult for a thoughtful and nuanced conversation about complex situations,” he said. he wrote.

He urged employees to continue to focus on improving the app, embracing transparency, and protecting customer safety.

“It helps us gain the trust of users around the world, and also helps people better understand our complex and unique history as a global company with Chinese founders,” Zhang wrote.

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