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China restricts AI exports, will now have a say in TikTok sale

China

Update on September 4, 12:23 IST: China has confirmed it will have to greenlight Bytedance's acquisition by an American firm. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Gao Feng, on Thursday stressed that the regulatory changes aren't targeted at a specific company. But companies looking at American investments should consult relevant government agencies should any technology they deploy fall under the export control list. "If the technologies specified in the Catalogue are involved in trade, investment or foreign technological cooperation of relevant companies, we suggest these companies consult with provincial commerce authority in a timely manner and act in accordance with regulations," Feng said. Original story on August 31, 11:59 IST: The Chinese government has added artificial intelligence technology to its export control list, possibly jeopardizing the impending sale of Bytedance’s TikTok US operations. The restriction effectively implies that Bytedance will have to seek China’s approval to sell TikTok’s US operations. This development was first reported by the Nikkei Asian Review. On Friday, China’s Commerce Ministry and its Science and Technology Ministry added “technology based on data analysis for personalised information recommendation services” to a list of services of export-control products. Using a bureaucratic tool, China has essentially found a way to have a say in TikTok’s imminent sale to an American company, and will likely be another flashpoint in US-China relations. TikTok’s algorithm provides a highly personalised feed to its users and it is a key factor credited for the platform’s popularity. This algorithm will likely fall under the restricted category.…

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