08:16 GMT21 September 2020
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    After Donald Trump claimed his administration has evidence of TikTok allegedly harvesting the bulks of users’ personal data for Beijing – a claim China and the Chinese service vehemently deny – a number of US companies are reported to be eyeing the buyout of TikTok's US operations and reshaping its American infrastructure to this end.

    Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said his company has no intention of buying out TikTok, which has to be sold to a US company or face a ban across the country in line with an executive order signed by President Trump earlier this month.

    When asked whether Google was going to buy the popular video app during an interview on the podcast Pivot Schooled, Pichai replied unambiguously: "We are not".

    He proceeded to confirm that TikTok pays for Google's cloud services, suggesting also that TikTok is one of the tech businesses flourishing during the pandemic and is fortunate enough not to be battling anti-trust scrutiny, unlike Google.

    The messenger app WeChat and short-video app TikTok are seen near China and U.S. flags in this illustration picture taken August 7, 2020
    © REUTERS / FLORENCE LO
    The messenger app WeChat and short-video app TikTok are seen near China and U.S. flags in this illustration picture taken August 7, 2020

    Microsoft Corp. and Oracle are among the companies currently weighing the buy-out of ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company. Miscrosoft is considered to be the lead bidder in the prospective deal, after the White House moved to threaten the video-sharing service with a ban in the country on national security grounds should ByteDance fail to hand its US operations over to an American business. While the initially mentioned deadline was 15 September, the newly signed executive order stipulates a buyout by mid-November.

    Donald Trump said his administration had "credible evidence" that ByteDance might take action to hurt US security, by potentially handing over sensitive personal data its app handles to Beijing.

    China and the targeted companies, ByteDance and Tencent, a Chinese tech company which owns the messaging app WeChat, have repeatedly dismissed all spying and malfeasance allegations as unfounded. TikTok dismissed any "dependence" on the Chinese Communist party, insisting that all American data is kept in the US and has never been passed on to the Chinese government, while Beijing ripped the anti-TikTok actions charging that they violate America's free market principles.

    TikTok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken November 27, 2019
    © REUTERS / Dado Ruvic
    TikTok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken November 27, 2019

    ByteDance, which accused the US administration of attempting to ruin private business negotiations, started a legal case against the White House over a restrictive executive order banning transactions between the app and the companies involved over allegations that TikTok is harvesting data for the Chinese government.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that Beijing full-on backs Chinese companies' use of legal weapons to defend their legal rights.

    "China continues to support relevant companies to take up legal weapons to defend their rightful interests and will continue to take all necessary measures to defend the legal rights of Chinese companies", Zhao told a briefing in Beijing.

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