TikTok owner Bytedance said in a social media post on Sunday that it was the first time it had heard in the news it was setting up a $5 billion education fund in the United States.
“The company has been committed to investing in the education field, and plans to work with partners and global shareholders to launch online classroom projects based on AI and video technology for students around the world,” ByteDance said on its official account on Toutiao.
Trump said on Saturday he supported a deal in principle that would allow TikTok to continue to operate in the United States, even as it appeared to conflict with his earlier order for China’s ByteDance to divest the video app.
ByteDance was racing to avoid a crackdown on TikTok after the US Commerce Department said on Friday it would block new downloads and updates to the app come Sunday. US officials had expressed concern that the personal data of as many as 100 million Americans that use the app were being passed on to China’s Communist Party government.
Trump signed an executive order on August 14 giving ByteDance 90 days to sell TikTok. The deal announced on Saturday, however, is structured as a partnership rather than a divestment.
TikTok will be owned by a new company called TikTok Global and will be headquartered in the United States, possibly in Texas, Trump said. Oracle will take a 12.5 percent stake in TikTok Global and store all its US user data on its cloud to comply with US national security requirements, the companies said. Retail giant Walmart said it would take a 7.5 percent stake in TikTok Global. The implied valuation for TikTok Global as a result of these investments could not be learned.
© Thomson Reuters 2020