Chinese Netizens Call TikTok CEO A Traitor For Selling The App To An American Company

Aadhya Khatri - Aug 04, 2020


Chinese Netizens Call TikTok CEO A Traitor For Selling The App To An American Company

When news of its deal with Microsoft broke out, Chinese netizens went as far as calling TikTok CEO a traitor for yielding to U.S terms

Despite being banned at its largest market India and facing unimaginable hardship in the U.S, ByteDance, the Chinese company behind TikTok, doesn’t seem to give up to its ambition to be a world’ tech giant.

However, the situation became worse for the company as recently, when news of its deal with Microsoft broke out, Chinese netizens went as far as calling TikTok CEO a traitor for accepting the contract with an American company.

In a statement made public on Sunday, ByteDance said it still committed to its vision to become a global company, despite all kinds of challenges thrown at it.

After months of effort to save the app in the U.S, the company now have two choices, one, selling their U.S’s business to an American company, and two, facing an executive ban on TikTok, Zhang Yiming, ByteDance’s founder and CEO wrote in a letter to his employees.

Zhang Yiming called traitor US deal tiktok
Zhang Yiming, ByteDance’s founder and CEO wrote in a letter to his employees that he had to sell TikTok U.S business otherwise the app would be banned

Things are moving fast as we speak. In the meantime, Microsoft confirmed it would buy TikTok in the U.S. President Donald Trump expressed opposition at first and said he prefers an executive ban. However, he had a change of heart later.

Zhang told his employees that the company was in discussion with an American firm to allow TikTok operation in the U.S. This announcement comes in line with U.S. general manager Vanessa Pappas’s assurance that TikTok would not go anywhere.

Zhang also expressed his frustration in the letter saying the company always committed to ensuring transparency, neutrality, and safety. However, he said he understood the decision in the macro-environment.

Angry Chinese Netizens

ByteDance’s decision to yield to the U.S’s terms might be made with the best interest in mind but it has irritated lots of Chinese Internet users.

On Weibo, a Chinese blogging platform, a large number of netizens called Zhang a traitor, a coward, and even an American apologist for the decision to sell TikTok U.S business.

Zhang Yiming called traitor tiktok deal US
On Weibo, a Chinese blogging platform, a large number of netizens called Zhang a traitor, a coward, and even an American apologist

A comment with 3,600 likes teased Zhang for his previous positive attitude toward the U.S where he believed allowing debate, unlike in China where everything is one-sided. The netizen said the CEO had had a slap in the face.

The person is referring to one of Zhang’s posts on Weibo from the early 2010s, which puts him among the public intellectuals. However, over the years, the term’s value has derogated as many Internet patriots called them worshippers of the West.

The Weibo account of TikTok CEO has been suspended to prevent armies of angry netizens from flooding it with hatred.

Opposite to the public’s fury, the Chinese government seems to be pretty resigned to what happened with a spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry merely denied the U.S’s allegations.

Sympathy From Peers

The only source of sympathy for TikTok in China now is other startups and investors. Many of them see the deal with Microsoft the best choice for ByteDance.

According to William Bao Bean, Chinaccelerator’s general partner, the regulatory environment is changing fast and TikTok users probably want to keep using the app. However, this might not be the outcome ByteDance hopes for.

Since Microsoft has always been showing a non-confrontational attitude towards the Chinese government, the deal it offers ByteDance seems to be the best option right now for all parties. TikTok has a good payout, Microsoft establishes its standing in the social media market, and the Chinese government and ByteDance have no problem with the American tech giant.

Microsoft deal buy TikTok
Since Microsoft has always been showing a non-confrontational attitude towards the Chinese government, the deal it offers ByteDance seems to be the best option right now for all parties

What happens to TikTok is rarely seen but the Chinese tech community is still deterred by the hostile attitude Western world shows ByteDance, creates an obstacle for any Chinese company that wants to expand to the U.S and other Western markets.

Bao Bean said most tech solutions of Chinese companies were built for the local market so they are irrelevant to the Western world.

Chinese games perhaps get the best opportunity to expand. A prime example is Tencent with its aggressive acquisition. However, developers with fewer resources now have no other way but to lay low.

CEO of a Chinese Internet company said they didn’t take interviews and there were no opportunities in Canada, the U.S, Australia, and India left for them. Europe was becoming harder to conquer and risks were increasing.

He concluded that from then on, any Chinese companies wish to go global could only put their hope on South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

>>> President Trump Gives TikTok 45 Days To Finalize Acquisition Deal With Microsoft

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