Bytedance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming is reconsidering his options of a TikTok sale after new China rules and a possible US ban as soon as September 15.
The new restrictions could hinder a purchase of TikTok by its would-be suitors: Microsoft, Walmart, Oracle, Twitter or possibly a direct rival Triller.
If China goes ahead and restricts exports of artificial intelligence to the US, that could be a dead end for TikTok's operations state-side. AI powers TikTok content to users based on their viewer preferences.
The Chinese tech founder may be driven "more by pride than price," as I was quoted in Bloomberg. He's fiercely independent, and once turned down an offer for Bytedance by a China tech giant.
From the start when he created TikTok in 2016, Zhang wanted a global presence. Now that looks very uncertain. TikTok is already blocked in India.
Interestingly, if a ban does happen in the US, Facebook will benefit. It's been competing with TikTok - and actually should have beat Bytedance to the market with the clever short-video app idea.
Surely Zhang never realized that his mobile app would be caught in the middle of US-China tensions over a tech race.
Silicon Dragon is getting quoted.
See some media clips here:
Bytedance chief reconsiders options
Assessing TikTok buyers
China export ban throws wrench into TikTok sale
Channel News Asia, Money Mind
segment starts at 8:56
Assessing the Rivalry Between US-China Tech Giants