On August 28, China’s Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Science and Technology released the new updated version of the Catalogue of Technologies Prohibited and Restricted from Export, which imposed restrictions on the trading of sensitive technologies such as AI. The new document is released near the closing date of the ByteDance’s TikTok acquisition by a US company.
The updated catalogue divides technology export into three categories: “open”, “restricted” and “prohibited”. The restricted section now includes the computer service industry spearheaded by the emerging AI technologies, such as AI speech synthesis, AI-backed interactive interface, personalized recommendation system powered on data analysis, and more.
The most valuable asset of TikTok, the internationally popular short video app, is the FYP (for you page) algorithm that recommends videos based on user interests, which suits the above definition of “personalized recommendation powered on data analysis”. Its owner company ByteDance also holds a number of cutting-edge technologies in AI and other fields, including “AI-backed interactive interface”.
Based on the new export restriction, if a foreign business wants to operate products or services using the above-mentioned technologies, they will need to apply for licenses from the Chinese government. It remains unclear whether the Chinese government will try to prevent the selling of TikTok through the new restriction. (Source)
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