Trump wants the state to get a share in the Tiktok deal. For this he reaps outrage. Critics accuse the US President of interfering in the market.
In the dispute over the future of the popular video app Tiktok from China, US President Donald Trump has come under further criticism. Trump had demanded that the US government help earn money if the US company Microsoft took over Tiktok’s North American business. Several US media have spoken of unusual interference, of which there have been no examples in recent American history. Criticism came again from China.
At the weekend, Trump had threatened Tiktok with an exit in the United States, referring to data security. On Monday, he said he would support Tiktok’s purchase of an American company from the United States. If there is no agreement by September 15, he will, however, order the plant to be closed.
After talking to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Trump reported that he had told him that “a very significant portion” of the sales price would go to the US Treasury. He justified his demand with the words: “because we make this business possible”. Neither the White House nor the Treasury Department gave details of what such a payment could look like, as reported by the “Wall Street Journal”.
“It is totally unorthodox for a president to suggest that the United States take part in a deal – especially when it comes to a deal that he himself created,” said the law professor Carl Tobias from the University of Richmond. “The idea is probably also illegal and unethical.” The paper spoke of a “presidential demonstration of power for which there appears to be no precedent.”
The “New York Times” also spoke of “turning away” the practices of previous presidents. “While previous republican governments refused government intervention in the market, Mr. Trump had no qualms about going harder,” the paper wrote. Bloomberg news agency said, “In recent history, it would be unprecedented if the US government seized a stake in a transaction between companies in which it is not involved.”
The Chinese State Department accused the US of violating market economy principles and the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Tuesday. It is “pure bullying,” said ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin in Beijing. Criticism also came from China’s state media. China will not accept the “theft” of a technology company by the United States, commented the daily “China Daily” in an editorial. One has “many possibilities” to take revenge.
The US government has long warned of the alleged danger that data from Americans could get into the hands of Chinese authorities via Tiktok. At the same time Trump wants to push back Beijing’s influence in the United States with all his might. Other Chinese companies such as the telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE have already felt this. In the case of Tiktok, the risk of political influence or censorship of content in the Beijing sense is also cited.
Tiktok is a video platform with hundreds of millions of users worldwide. Users can upload their own clips or watch videos from others. The owner Bytedance has been trying to separate its international platform from the Chinese version for some time. Tiktok assures that the Chinese government has no access to user data and has never requested it. The data of US users would be stored and processed in the USA anyway.
In mainland China there is only the censored version Douyin. As manager of Tiktok, Disney manager Kevin Mayer was recently hired, who was long considered the crown prince of the entertainment company. Microsoft had recently positioned itself after massive political pressure from the White House to take over parts of the business from Tiktok. How much Microsoft would have to pay is unclear. It is likely to be a double-digit billion amount. In the United States, Tiktok claims to have 100 million users.
- tiktok: © prima91 – stock.adobe.com