China will not accept U.S. ‘theft’ of TikTok: China Daily

China will not accept the “theft” of a Chinese technology company and is able to respond to Washington’s move to push ByteDance to sell short-video app TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft, the China Daily newspaper said on Tuesday.

The United States’ “bullying” of Chinese tech companies was a consequence of Washington’s zero-sum vision of “American first” and left China no choice but “submission or mortal combat in the tech realm”, the state-backed paper said in an editorial.

China had “plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab”, it added.

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) said on Monday it was in talks with ByteDance to buy parts of TikTok after U.S. President Donald Trump reversed course on a plan to ban the app on national security grounds and gave the firms 45 days to strike a deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said over the weekend that Trump would take action shortly against Chinese software companies that shared user data with the Chinese government.

The Global Times newspaper, which is also government-backed, said U.S. treatment of ByteDance and Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL], now on a U.S. trade blacklist, was indicative of U.S. efforts to separate its economy from China’s.

China had “limited ability” to provide protection to these Chinese companies by retaliating against U.S. companies because the United States had technological superiority and influence with its allies, it added.

“China’s opening-up to the outside world and disintegrating the U.S. decoupling strategy should be priorities,” it said in an editorial.

The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.