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TikTok deal with Oracle and Walmart hinges on Chinese export license approval

Trump administration bans TikTok and WeChat
Trump administration bans TikTok and WeChat 05:19

TikTok's owner said Thursday it has applied for a Chinese technology export license as it tries to complete a deal with Oracle and Walmart to keep the popular video app operating in the United States.

Beijing tightened control over technology exports last month in an effort to gain leverage over Washington's attempt to force an outright sale of TikTok to U.S. owners. The White House says the video service is a security risk because the personal information of its millions of U.S. users could be handed over to Chinese authorities. The U.S. Army has banned the use of TikTok on official devices. 

Trump administration weighs TikTok ban 07:06

President Donald Trump said this week he would approve a proposed deal in which Oracle and Walmart could initially own a combined 20% of a new U.S. entity, TikTok Global. Trump said Oracle must have "total control."

The deal would make Oracle responsible for hosting all TikTok's U.S. user data and securing computer systems to ensure U.S. national security requirements are satisfied. Walmart said it will provide its e-commerce, fulfillment, payments and other services to the new company.

At a rally in North Carolina last weekend, President Trump said an element of the deal for TikTok would be to create a $5 billion education fund dedicated to teaching "the real history" of the U.S. Walmart has agreed to back an education fund as part of the deal between the retailer and Oracle to partner with the Chinese-owned video-sharing app, according to a source familiar with the matter.

ByteDance said it applied to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce for an export license and was awaiting a reply. The one-sentence statement gave no other details.

"No reason to give the green light"

Chinese authorities have not indicated whether they will agree to a transfer of technology. But official newspapers criticized the proposed deal this week as bullying and extortion.

"China has no reason to give the green light to such a deal, which is dirty and unfair," said the newspaper China Daily on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the foreign ministry said China will "take necessary measures" to safeguard its companies but gave no indication what steps it can take to affect TikTok's fate in the United States.

A ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, called on Washington to "respect the principles of market economy and fair competition" and "provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment" for foreign companies.

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