Daily US Times: The US retail giant Walmart joins with Microsoft to make a bid for the US operations of popular Chinese micro-video app TikTok.
Walmart said it thought a deal with TikTok would help it expand its operations.
TikTok has been given 90 days by the US administration to sell its US arm to an American firm or face a ban in the country. Donald Trump has alleged the app shares its user data with Beijing – claims it denies.
The firm’s boss resigned earlier on Thursday ahead of the impending ban.
Confirming that the company was pursuing a deal, a spokesperson for Walmart said: “We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of US TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of US government regulators.”
Microsoft, which confirmed at the beginning of this month that it was in talks with TikTok, and it had “nothing to share at this time”.
With Walmart, which owns UK supermarket chain Asda, it will now go up against other prospective bidders, including Oracle, a US tech giant.
TikTok’s US operations could fetch as much as $30bn (£22bn) if a deal is reached, according to reports.
Since its global launch at the end of 2018 Tiktok has attracted a huge following and popularity, especially amongst the under-25s.
The app lets its followers create short videos, with the help of wide range of filters and an extensive database of songs.
Data at risk?
However, the Trump administration has accused the Chinese internet firm Bytedance, the owner of TikTok, of being a threat to US national security.
The US administration says the data the company collects from its 800 million users – 100 million of whom are reported to be in the US – is at risk of exploitation by the Chinese government.
In a wake of border dispute of China, India’s government has also banned TikTok, along with dozens more Chinese-made apps, claiming they “surreptitiously” transmit users’ data.
China has denied such claims, calling the US ban politically motivated.
Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance, has faced criticism for his decision to sell to a US company. But in a letter to his Chinese staff he said it was the only way to prevent the app from being taken down in the US.
TikTok always denies the accusation of using user data for any other purpose and said the data of US users are kept in the servers located in the US.
You may read: TikTok launches legal action against Trump over ban