Beijing opposes a forced sale of TikTok's U.S. operations by its Chinese owner ByteDance, and would prefer to see the short video app shut down in the United States, three people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters exclusively on Friday.
Ahead of a looming mid-September deadline forcing the sale of TikTok's business in the U.S. , Chinese officials say they would rather see the popular short-form video app go dark in the U.S. than be forced into a sale, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters exclusively on Friday.
Parent company ByteDance has been in talks to sell TikTok's U.S. operations to potential buyers, including a joint bid from Microsoft and Walmart and a separate offer from Oracle.
The thinking inside the Chinese government, according to sources, is that a forced sale would make both ByteDance and China appear weak in the face of pressure from Washington.
China is willing to use revisions it made to a technology exports list issued last month to delay any deal - if it had to - according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.
ByteDance said in a statement to Reuters that the Chinese government had never suggested to it that it should shut down TikTok in the United States or in any other markets.
State officials in Beijing did not immediately respond to requests for comment.