China won't accept 'theft' of TikTok, according to state newspaper

TikTok which is popular with young audiences has more than one billion users worldwide. Reuters

TikTok which is popular with young audiences has more than one billion users worldwide. Reuters

- US President Donald Trump abruptly reversed course on TikTok on Monday, just a few days after he said he was planning on banning the China-owned video app in the US.

Microsoft has confirmed that it is in talks to buy Chinese-owned app TikTok in the United States.

China had "limited ability" to provide protection to these Chinese companies by retaliating against US companies because the United States had technological superiority and influence with its allies, it added. However, Chinese state media has warned Beijing could retaliate to U.S. attempts to buy into the company, branding Microsoft's proposals to buy a "theft".

Republican senator Lindsey Graham commented: "What's the right answer?"

"Here's the deal. I don't mind if - whether it's Microsoft or somebody else - a big company, a secure company, a very American company buys it", Trump told reporters at the White House.

Speaking to Fox News, Mr Pompeo also said that TikTok was among those "feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party".

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"The President, when he makes his decision, will make sure that everything we have done drives us as close to zero risk for the American people", Pompeo said. The White House had insisted upon that deadline, according to people familiar with the matter.

U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly reversed course on TikTok on Monday.

Talks of a possible buy of by Microsoft saw the tech company's share price soar by almost nearly 6%, or $11.53, on Monday.

Trump told reporters at the White House that TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, "will be out of business in the United States" without a sale to a "secure" USA company by the date in question.

Trump earlier in the day gave his verbal approval to a potential deal between TikTok and an American company like Microsoft, but he said TikTok had until September 15 to close such a deal or face a US ban. "It'll close down on September 15 unless Microsoft or somebody else is able to buy it and work out a deal, an appropriate deal, so the Treasury of the United States gets a lot of money". "A lot of money", Trump said.

Microsoft and ByteDance gave the US government a notice of intent to explore a preliminary proposal for Microsoft to purchase the TikTok service in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

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In its blog post, Microsoft pledged to add more security, privacy and digital safety protections to the TikTok app and ensure that all private data of Americans are transferred back to the USA and deleted from servers outside the country.

The publication noted that current events are setting a concerning precedent for Chinese companies with global ambitions.

On Monday, a spokesman for China's ministry of foreign affairs said Beijing opposed any USA action against Chinese software companies.

Concerns have also been raised about how engineers would have to disentangle TikTok's technical back end from its Chinese sister-app Douyin. It has a similar service, Douyin, for users in China.

Zhang Yiming, the CEO of TikTok parent company ByteDance, sent a letter to employees on Tuesday as the firm fights for its future in the US. "You sign up for a Chinese app like TikTok, they get your user name and password, maybe if you use that across other applications, they've got that", he said. With TikTok in China, it's subject to Chinese Communist Party laws that may require handing over data to their government'.

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