US general manager of Chinese video sharing app TikTok said the service "doesn't plan to go anywhere" after President Donald Trump promised to ban him because of security and privacy concerns.
"We don't plan to go anywhere," said Vanessa Pappas in a video address on TikTok. "When it comes to security, we build the safest app because it's the right thing to do."
"We are so proud of all the different communities that call TikTok at home," said Pappas, calling on the millions of users of the app to "stand up for TikTok".
Pappas said the app employs 15,000 people in America and plans to create another 10,000 jobs in the coming years.
It follows Trump's vow to sign a ban ban on the app, expected on Saturday, and has sparked a flood of speculation about acquisitions. Microsoft is reportedly considering a deal to take control of the Chinese app to enable it to continue operating in the United States
"We don't plan to go anywhere," said Vanessa Pappas, US general manager of TikTok, in a video address about the service
Two people familiar with the matter said on Saturday that China's ByteDance has agreed to fully divest TikTok's U.S. operations to save a White House deal.
U.S. officials said that TikTok is a national risk among its Chinese parent due to the personal information it processes.
The concession announced by ByteDance will examine whether Trump's threat to ban TikTok is a negotiating tactic or intends to act against a social media app that has up to 80 million active users in the U.S. daily.
Trump told Air Force One reporters late Friday that he would issue an order to ban TikTok in the U.S. on Saturday.
"Not the business you've heard they'll buy and sell … We're not an M&A country (mergers and acquisitions)," Trump said.
ByteDance had previously attempted to hold a minority stake in TikTok's US business, a proposal that the White House had rejected.
Trump told reporters that he could already ban TikTok in the U.S. on Saturday while traveling back from Tampa with Air Force One on Friday
As part of the new contract proposal, ByteDance would leave the company entirely and Microsoft Corp would acquire TikTok in the United States, the sources said.
Some U.S.-based ByteDance investors may be given the opportunity to acquire minority stakes in the business, the sources added. Around 70 percent of ByteDance's external investors come from the United States.
The White House declined to comment on whether Trump would accept the ByteDance concession. ByteDance in Beijing did not respond to a request for comment
According to the new ByteDance proposal, Microsoft will be responsible for protecting all US user data. The plan is for a U.S. company other than Microsoft to take over TikTok in the U.S.
Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.
As U.S.-China relations deteriorate in terms of trade, Hong Kong autonomy, cyber security, and the spread of the novel corona virus, TikTok has emerged as the focus of the dispute between the world's two largest economies.
Under pressure from the U.S. to give up control of the app, ByteDance has considered a number of options for TikTok that allow users to create short videos with special effects, and has become very popular among U.S. teenagers.
ByteDance had received a proposal from some of its investors, including Sequoia and General Atlantic, to transfer the majority stake in TikTok to them, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The proposal valued TikTok at around $ 50 billion, but some ByteDance executives believe the app is worth more.
ByteDance acquired the Shanghai-based video app Musical.ly worth $ 1 billion in 2017 and restarted it the following year as TikTok.
ByteDance did not request approval for the takeover by the United States Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS), which reviews businesses for potential national security risks. Reuters reported last year that CFIUS had initiated an investigation into TikTok.
TikTok's popularity among American teenagers has prompted U.S. regulators and lawmakers to consider whether their personal information could fall into the hands of government officials in Beijing
The United States has increasingly reviewed app developers for the personal information they process, especially when part of it affects U.S. military or intelligence personnel. The order to divest TikTok would not be the first time the White House has taken action on such concerns.
Earlier this year, Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd sold Grindr LLC, a popular gay dating app it bought in 2016, for $ 620 million after it was ordered for sale by CFIUS.
In 2018, CFIUS forced China's Ant Financial to cancel plans to buy MoneyGram International Inc because of concerns about the security of data that could identify U.S. citizens.
ByteDance was worth up to $ 140 billion earlier this year when one of its shareholders, Cheetah Mobile, sold a small stake in a private business, Reuters reported. The Japanese SoftBank Group Corp. is one of the start-up's investors.
The majority of ByteDance’s revenue comes from advertising apps related to its Chinese activities, including Douyin – a Chinese version of TikTok – and the news aggregator app Jinri Toutiao and the video streaming app Xigua and Pipixia, an app for jokes and humorous videos.
Microsoft is in talks to buy Chinese-owned TikTok after Trump announced it would ban the video app in the U.S.
The New York Times reported Friday that Microsoft is holding talks about the acquisition of TikTok, sources say that the deal "could change the app's ownership."
The report comes from speculation. President Trump would commission Chinese parent company ByteDance to give up ownership of the platform.
TikTok has raised concerns about its potential security threat, claiming that the Chinese government is using the technology to spy on citizens.
Microsoft is currently in talks with ByteDance about ownership of TikTok, New York Times sources said
& # 39; We're looking at TikTok. We may ban TikTok, «Trump told Reporters in the White House on Friday.
"We are looking for many alternatives related to TikTok."
However, Trump's plans seem to have stalled as Microsoft is currently negotiating ownership with ByteDance.
Anonymous sources reported to the New York Times that the deal was in progress but was unclear where the two companies were located.
However, Bloomberg reports that Trump plans to hire ByteDance to sell its property to TikTok in the U.S.
TikTok took the world by storm in 2017, allowing users to create original videos that are shared in the app for millions to see.
80 million Americans are currently using the app, which has raised concerns among the government that TikTok's data collection by users may be in the hands of Chinese officials.
Talks about banning the popular video app followed shortly after many users tried to sabotage Trump's June rally in Tulsa, Arizona.
TikTok users and K-Pop fans said they signed up for the Trump rally in Tulsa. This was the return of the US President on the trail as the campaign was accompanied by the coronavirus crisis.
Trump's campaign said it had over a million ticket requests, but in the hours leading up to the event, the 19,000-seat BOK Center saw a lot less than expected. In the end, only 6,200 people were present
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