ByteDance says it will comply with China’s amended export rules

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Sheldon Cooper | LightRocket | Getty Images

ByteDance has said it will follow China’s recently changed rules on the export of technology – which could complicate any sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations.China on Friday updated its list of technologies subject to export restrictions to include a number of areas ranging from speech recognition to chip design.

The export list had not been updated since 2008. Companies wishing to export technologies on the list must obtain a government license, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.

One of the restricted items is the “data analytics-based personalized information service recommendation” technologies, according to a CNBC translation of the export list.

TikTok has talked a lot about its recommendation algorithm which presents users with videos based on a number of factors ranging from previous things they’ve seen to their geographic location.

After China’s release of the updated export list, the state-run Xinhua News Agency published an interview with Cui Fan, a professor at the China University of International Trade and Economics and government business advisor. .

He said ByteDance will likely have to go through the licensing process. The article adds that regardless of the new owner of TikTok, ByteDance will likely have to transfer the software code from China to overseas and may need to provide technical services as well.

On Sunday, ByteDance responded by saying it had taken note of the amended export regulations and that “the company will strictly comply” with the laws, according to a CNBC translation of its statement.

On August 6, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order prohibiting any transaction with ByteDance subject to US jurisdiction within 45 days. The extent of the ban is unclear. Trump then issued a separate order on August 14 giving ByteDance 90 days to divest TikTok’s U.S. operations.

Microsoft and Walmart have teamed up to bid for TikTok while Oracle is also in contention.

On Monday, Bobby Sarnevesht, executive chairman of Triller, told CNBC that the rival app had made an offer on TikTok in partnership with Centricus, a London-based investment firm – a claim TikTok directly denied.

“Our offer is submitted. We have confirmation that the president and the higher up people of ByteDance are aware of this. And we have a correspondence. I know they are thinking about the next step to take, ”Sarnevesht said.

But a TikTok spokesperson said, “We can confirm that we are not and will not be in talks with them. Still, we’re flattered how much they admire TikTok. ”

Meanwhile, TikTok sued the US government last week over Trump’s August 6 executive order, saying the upcoming ban prevents the company from following due process, as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

Washington has argued that TikTok poses a threat to national security because it could send US data to China. TikTok has repeatedly denied this allegation.

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