China raised hurdles which could slow or halt the sale of TikTok to a US buyer, imposing export restrictions on AI technologies which require parent ByteDance to secure a licence before closing any deal, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

The Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Science and Technology last week updated a list of restricted products for the first time since 2008, adding personalised information recommendation services using data analysis and AI interactive interfaces, which are widely used by TikTok.

ByteDance was reportedly nearing a deal to sell TikTok’s US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand operations for between $25 billion and $30 billion. Its general counsel Erich Andersen told SCMP the company is assessing the new regulations to ensure compliance.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said approval for restricted exports would take up to 45 working days, which SCMP noted means any deal could get authorisation by the mid-November deadline set by the US government.

The move by China’s government shows it intends to closely monitor how a part of a major Chinese technology company is divested in the US, as tension between the two countries continues escalate.

Microsoft, Walmart, Oracle and Twitter have all been linked with potential moves for the social media app.