Any sale of video sharing app TikTok must benefit the US “substantially” and provide “total security”, President Donald Trump said on Thursday.
Trump’s comments followed an executive order issued earlier this month ordering US firms to stop doing business with the app by September 15, citing concerns that the app is harvesting data which can then be used by Chinese spy agencies, threatening national security. TikTok has denied claims that the Chinese government has access to its user data.
TikTok has around a billion users and is owned by ByteDance, which also runs Chinese news platform Toutiao and is one of the country’s largest technology firms with a value of around US$100bn.
The platform is currently in discussions with Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) to sell its US operations, however earlier this week it was revealed that Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has also reportedly held talks with ByteDance around purchasing TikTok, potentially precipitating a bidding war.
Trump has also issued a similar order against social media and messaging app WeChat, owned by fellow Chinese tech giant Tencent, while the White House has recommended that Chinese firms listed on US stock markets should be delisted unless they allow regulators to access their audited accounts.