Donald Trump says he has given his “blessing” to a proposed deal that could prevent TikTok from being banned in the US.
He told reporters at the White House he is backing a deal with Oracle and Walmart that would create a new company to oversee TikTok’s US operations.
Mr Trump said the new company would be “totally controlled by Oracle and Walmart”.
People in the US were set to be banned from downloading the video-sharing app – as well as another Chinese app, WeChat – on Sunday, following White House concerns about the security of user data.
An earlier statement from the US commerce department said: “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US.”
It added that the apps posed “unacceptable risks” to national security.
But the president has now said he approves the deal “in concept” and the security will be “100%”, adding: “I have given the deal my blessing.”
Reuters news agency reported on Thursday the new company, called TikTok Global, will have a majority of American directors, a US chief executive and a security expert on board.
It is expected to create at least 25,000 new jobs and will be based in Texas, the president said.
Oracle and Walmart are expected to take significant equity stakes and ByteDance – which owns TikTok – has agreed to significant security safeguards, with Oracle housing all data and having the right to inspect the app’s source code.
However, China must still approve the deal.
TikTok said in a statement: “We are pleased that the proposal by TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart will resolve the security concerns of the US Administration and settle questions around TikTok’s future in the US.”
It added: “Our team works tirelessly to provide a safe and inclusive platform and we’re thrilled that we will be able to continue serving our amazingly diverse and creative community.”
Mr Trump said: “We’ll see whether or not it all happens.”
It is not immediately clear if the commerce department will row back on its plans to force Google and Apple to stop offering TikTok on their US app stores on Sunday.
By David Aaron
November 14, 2020