This effort began late last year, preceding a U.S. bill signed in April mandating TikTok’s U.S. operations’ sale. Sources reveal ByteDance engineers are sifting through millions of lines of code to achieve this separation.

Despite the technical challenges, TikTok and ByteDance are committed to battling the U.S. law in court. This separation, part of TikTok’s strategy to mitigate political risk, involves creating a new U.S.-specific code base. ByteDance acknowledges this process may affect TikTok U.S.’s performance, currently reliant on Chinese engineers.

The project highlights TikTok’s efforts to maintain operations in the U.S. amid rising scrutiny. ByteDance previously attributed TikTok’s success to its recommendation engine, developed by Chinese engineers and customized for global markets.

According to Reuters, TikTok’s management understands the risk that an independent U.S. version may not match the performance of the original due to its reliance on ByteDance’s engineering resources.