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TikTok hopes three-party agreement between ByteDance, Oracle, Walmart to resolve US concerns

A vendor poses in front of his stall with a T-shirt bearing the logo of the video-sharing application TikTok in New Delhi on Tuesday. [Photo/Agencies]. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

LOS ANGELES, Sep 20, 2020, China Daily. Video-sharing social networking platform TikTok on Saturday voiced hope that an agreement reached by its Chinese parent company ByteDance with Oracle and Walmart will “resolve the security concerns of the US administration and settle questions around TikTok’s future in the US”, China Daily reported.

The Los Angeles-based company issued a statement Saturday afternoon, hours after US President Donald Trump said he had approved a deal between the three parties.

TikTok disclosed some details about the three-party agreement handed over to the authority Monday and weighted by the White House so far, saying Oracle will become its “trusted technology provider,” and Walmart will play a role in “commercial partnership.”

As part of this proposal, Oracle would be in charge of hosting TikTok’s all US user data and securing associated computer systems to “ensure US national security requirements are fully satisfied,” the statement noted.

According to the company, as of June, the total number of TikTok’s monthly active users in the country soared to 91,937,040, and based on quarterly usage, 100 million Americans used the app.

The statement also said both American companies will take part in TikTok’s global pre-IPO financing round in which they can take up to 20 percent cumulative stake in the company. A business insider familiar with the deal told Xinhua that TikTok had a plan to finish IPO in the US market in one year if possible.

“We will also maintain and expand TikTok Global headquarters in the US, while bringing 25,000 jobs across the country,” the company promised, adding “Our team works tirelessly to provide a safe and inclusive platform and we’re thrilled that we will be able to continue serving our amazingly diverse and creative community.”

Trump and some US politicians have repeatedly speculated that TikTok poses a national security threat to the country, though no evidence has been provided to support the allegations.

On Aug 6, Trump issued an executive order banning US transactions with ByteDance, citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. The ban will take effect on Sept 20.

On Aug 14, he signed a second executive order that will force ByteDance to sell or spin off its US TikTok business within 90 days.

TikTok has sued the US administration to block the order issued on Aug 6, arguing that it is unconstitutional. Trump, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the Department of Commerce were listed as defendants in the 39-page indictment.

The US Commerce Department said Friday that according to the Aug 6 order, as of Sunday, any moves to distribute or maintain TikTok on app stores such as Apple Store and Google Play will be prohibited, and a more extensive ban against the app would be applied starting from Nov 12. TikTok replied on Friday that it felt disappointed with the decision.

After Trump’s remarks on Saturday, the department issued a statement, saying that “in light of recent positive developments, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, at the direction of President Trump, will delay the prohibition of identified transactions pursuant to Executive Order 13942, related to the TikTok mobile application that would have been effective on Sunday, September 20, 2020, until September 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm.”

US users rushed to downed the popular app. TikTok downloads rose 12 percent to 247,000 in the country on Friday compared to the previous day, according to preliminary estimates from Sensor Tower, which tracks mobile apps.

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Saturday that it is resolutely opposed to the US move to block downloads of WeChat and TikTok apps, urging the United States to immediately stop bullying and safeguard international rules and order.

In the absence of any evidence, the United States has repeatedly used state power to suppress the two enterprises for unwarranted reasons, which seriously disrupted their normal business activities, undermined the confidence of international investors in the US investment environment and damaged the normal global economic and trade order, the MOC said in a statement.

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