ByteDance applies for tech export license in China amid TikTok deal talks

Brenda Goh, Reuters

Posted at Sep 24 2020 08:58 AM | Updated as of Sep 24 2020 11:10 AM

TikTok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken Nov. 27, 2019. Dado Ruvic, Reuters/file

SHANGHAI - TikTok owner ByteDance has applied for a license in China in line with the country's tech export requirements, as it strives to seal a deal with Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc for TikTok's US operations to stave off a US ban on the app.

The application was submitted to Beijing's municipal commerce bureau and the company is waiting for a decision, it said in a statement on its Toutiao account on Thursday.

It did not say whether the application was related to an ongoing deal over its US operations.

China last month revised a list of technologies that are banned or restricted for export for the first time in 12 years, which experts said gave Beijing a say over any TikTok deal.

ByteDance has said that its deal with Oracle and Walmart, which will see the creation of a standalone US company, needs approval from both the United States and China.

However, the companies have issued conflicting statements over the terms of the preliminary agreement they reached with the White House, casting doubt over whether it will hold.

ByteDance said it will establish a US subsidiary called TikTok Global of which it will own 80 percent.

Oracle and WalMart, however, said majority ownership of TikTok Global would be in American hands, complying with an Aug. 14 executive order by US President Donald Trump that ByteDance relinquish ownership of TikTok within 90 days.

Chinese state media outlets China Daily and the Global Times said this week that they see no reason for China to approve the deal Oracle and Walmart said they have struck with ByteDance, calling it based on "bullying and extortion".