Eva Dou

TikTok says Oracle can review its source code, but deal won’t allow tech transfers

China's TikTok sought to tamp down domestic controversy over its deal with Oracle and Walmart, saying that there would be no technology transfer to Oracle, though the US company would be able to check its software for safety. The TikTok deal has been a vivid example of the Trump administration’s policy of reciprocity toward Chinese businesses. Supporters of the approach say it’s only fair to treat Chinese companies by the same standards to which US companies are held in China.

ZTE to Pay $892 Million to U.S., Plead Guilty in Iran Sanctions Probe

Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp has agreed to pay $892 million and plead guilty to violating US sanctions on Iran and obstructing a federal investigation, ending a five-year probe that has raised trade tensions between the US and China. The penalties, among the largest ever in a sanctions case, were imposed on ZTE for a six-year-long plan to obtain technology products from the US, incorporate them into ZTE equipment and ultimately ship the equipment to Iran, US officials said.

Still, the company avoided a more devastating outcome: a supply cutoff of US components, which the Commerce Department slapped on ZTE in March 2016, prompting the company to come forward to negotiate the eventual settlement, according to US authorities. The Commerce Department suspended the sanctions during the talks and, in conjunction with the settlement agreement, it will now move to fully remove them, officials said. Without key components such as Qualcomm Inc. processors for its smartphones, ZTE’s ability to produce some of its major products could have been crippled in a matter of months, putting it at risk of bankruptcy.

China’s Internet Child-Safety Policies Could Force Changes at Tech Firms

China has proposed strengthening its policies on internet safety for children, which could force technology companies to make substantial operational changes to meet the new requirements.

The draft rules would require online-game operators to lock out anyone under the age of 18 between midnight and 8 a.m. They would also call for an increased number of websites to post warnings about content deemed unsuitable for minors. Few companies will criticize Chinese policies openly. However, industry experts said that a strict implementation of the proposed rules could also force foreign companies to use Chinese censorship software that they can’t control and that could potentially serve as backdoors for Chinese surveillance. The proposed regulations posted online Sept. 30 are vague as to whether companies’ existing parental control systems would suffice or if they would have to use Beijing-approved software.

The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s internet regulator, said that it would support the development of web-filtering software to keep children safe online and would determine which products comply with its requirements.