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CHINA BRIEF | Microsoft moves ahead with TikTok purchase as Trump grants 45-day deadline

In a statement on Sunday, ByteDance also accuses Facebook of plagiarism and smears.

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Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) will continue talks with ByteDance over a purchase of TikTok in the US aiming for a conclusion by September 15, following a conversation between CEO Satya Nadella and President Trump, the company said in a blog post.

The acquisition would involve TikTok’s services in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, according to the statement. Microsoft may also invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis.

President Trump agreed to grant Beijing-based ByteDance 45 days to negotiate the sale of TikTok to Microsoft, Reuters reported on August 2, citing unnamed sources. Mr. Trump repeatedly threatened with a ban of the short-video app, stating national security concerns. Last week, a group of current ByteDance shareholders and investors reportedly considered a takeover at a valuation of about USD 50 billion.

“ByteDance has always been committed to becoming a global company,” it responded on Sunday night on news aggregator Jinri Toutiao. “In the process, we are facing all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties, including a tense international political environment, the collision and conflict of different cultures, and the plagiarism and smear of competitor Facebook,” alluding to recent comments from CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his testimony to US congress.

“We strictly abide to local laws and will actively use the rights granted to us to safeguard the legal rights of the company,” ByteDance said in the post.

This article is part of KrASIA’s “China Brief” section, where KrASIA’s reporters will provide quick daily updates about the tech ecosystem in China.