ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming insisted the company would not cave to US pressure and divest its interest in short-form video platform TikTok, Caixin Global reported.

The newspaper stated Zhang, a major shareholder in Beijing-based ByteDance, opposes any sale. Sources added the company is not searching for potential buyers and doubts a deal could be reached in six months, noting any sale would need to be approved by regulators in China.

An estimated 170 million people in the US use the service.

In mid-March, the US House of Representatives passed a bill which would force its parent company to sell TikTok’s US assets to a non-Chinese owner within 180 days or face a nationwide ban.

The legislation requires approval by the US Senate and then must be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

A fortnight ago, Radio Free Mobile founder Richard Windsor stated China would not approve the divestment, as it would not allow critical algorithms to be in the hands of foreign-owned companies, leaving the situation at an impasse.

Faced with growing data and national security concerns in the US, TikTok has attempted to reassure the government that data gathered on domestic users stays in the country and is not accessible by ByteDance staff in China.