TikTok owner says US wants to ban the app, not buy it

The CEO of TikTok’s China-based parent company ByteDance said he believes the US is trying to kill the wildly popular app as President Trump presses for a sale and a cut of the proceeds.

In a leaked email to Chinese employees on Monday, CEO Zhang Yiming — who has been criticized in China after news broke that he was in talks to sell at least a portion of TikTok’s business to Microsoft — said some people had some misconceptions about the talks and called a forced sale “unreasonable,” according to a copy of the letter published by Bloomberg.

“But this is not their goal, or even what they want,” he said. “Their real objective is to achieve a comprehensive ban.”

The president said Monday he wanted to see the Beijing-based app owned by “a very American company,” and said TikTok would be “out of business in the United States” by Sept. 15 if it did not reach a deal for a sale.

The US government should receive a cut from any sale because he made it “possible for this deal to happen” and TikTok doesn’t “have any rights unless we give it to them,” Trump said.

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