BEIJING: The founder of ByteDance, which owns social media giant TikTok, said on Monday (Aug 3) his teams were working round-the-clock “for the best outcome”, as talks on the sale of its US operation to Microsoft continue, Chinese media reported.
TikTok – popular in the United States and widely used by young people who create, share and watch short videos on the platform – is the latest target in a wide-ranging trade war between Beijing and Washington.
The US government has said the Chinese-owned company is a national security threat – allegations that TikTok denies.
“In the current environment, we faced the real possibility of a forced sale of TikTok’s US business … or an executive order banning the app,” ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming wrote in a message to all the company’s staff, tech news outlet Pandaily reported.
“While we encounter mounting complexities across the geopolitical landscape and significant external pressure, our response teams have been working around-the-clock and giving up their weekends over the past few weeks to ensure the best possible outcome.”
Microsoft said on Sunday it would continue talks to buy the US operations of TikTok, which has an estimated 1 billion users worldwide.
The tech giant added it aimed to wrap up discussions “no later than Sep 15”.
President Donald Trump said last week he would ban the app, but since appears to have backed away from the threat, which caused great concern for US users – particularly content creators who make money on the platform.
Many have posted links to their Instagram or YouTube accounts to avoid losing followers if the platform is ultimately blocked.
Zhang said he disagreed with forcing TikTok to offload its US service.
“We have always been committed to user safety, platform neutrality, and transparency. However, we understand their decision in the current macro environment,” Zhang wrote.