US president Donald Trump announced that TikTok has until September 15 to find a US buyer or it will be banned in the country. The president was speaking to reporters at the White House, adding that the administration will take action if the Chinese video-sharing app isn’t able to meet these demands.
Trump also noted that he approved a possible sale to Microsoft, one of the major US companies that have expressed interest in acquiring the app.
The White House and several US lawmakers have repeatedly said that the TikTok poses a national security risk based on the fact that it’s owned by a Chinese company. There are reports indicating that the app is actively pursuing a US buyer as it caves to the pressure from the president.
There’s also a lot of confidence that Microsoft could finalize a deal to acquire the app before the September 15 deadline. The company also added that it will continue to liaise with the White House as negotiations to buy out the video-sharing app heat up.
Trump had earlier expressed his concern over the growing popularity of TikTok in the United States. Just last week, the White House wanted to ban the app outright without any recourse.
But a meeting between the President and GOP lawmakers seemed to have softened his stance. Reports also indicate that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was present during the meeting. It’s not clear what the discussion was but it seems the outcomes were acceptable to the President.
TikTok has maintained that it intends to continue its US operations in the near and long term future. The company says that at the moment it has over 100 million users in the country.
This is a huge following and it wouldn’t be wise to just pack up and leave. It’s understood that the video-sharing app is open to a possible takeover by Microsoft as long as its US operations aren’t curtailed. But so far there’s no deal on the table.
We are also not sure if there will be other players entering the fray. At the moment, it seems like Microsoft is on pole position to get the deal done but a lot could still change over the coming few weeks.
The president also intimated that he was expecting the US Treasury Department to get a cut if a deal to acquire the app goes through.
The biggest fear, at least from the US government, is that the Chinese Communist Party could exploit the penetration of TikTok in the US to commit acts of espionage.
There is also the possibility that TikTok could rival other major US video-sharing apps such as Instagram and YouTube. Nonetheless, it seems like the company now has a path to keep its US operations going. We just have to wait for a deal before the September 15 deadline.