Microsoft eyes TikTok purchase as Trump cracks down on China app

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Microsoft may be eyeing a massive acquisition of popular social media app TikTok, even as President Trump said the United States government is looking at potentially banning the platform.

The tech giant is reportedly in talks to take ownership of the social media company in a deal that could be valued in the tens of billions, according to the New York Times. TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, and has been under intense scrutiny in recent months due to concerns over the Chinese government potentially gaining access to user data.

News of the talks arrived on the heels of a Bloomberg report that said ByteDance will be ordered by the Trump administration to sell TikTok’s US operations.

“We’re looking at TikTok,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday. “There are a couple of options but a lot of things are happening, so we’ll see what happens. But we are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok.”

We’re looking at TikTok. We may be banning it, we may be doing some other things. There are a couple of options but a lot of things are happening, so we’ll see what happens, but we are looking at a lot of alternatives with respect to TikTok.”

A group of US investors, including Silicon Valley big shot Sequoia Capital, were reportedly in discussions last week to buy the platform’s American business in hopes of lessening scrutiny on the app.

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign this week ordered staffers to delete TikTok off of their phones, while the House of Representatives earlier this month voted to ban federal employees from downloading TikTok onto government-issued phones.

TikTok has said it has never provided user data to China and that it would not do so if asked, saying in a statement that it has “no higher priority than promoting a safe app experience that protects our users’ privacy.”

The company last month tapped former Disney executive Kevin Mayer to be its US CEO.

“While we do not comment on rumors or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok,” a spokesperson said. “Hundreds of millions of people come to TikTok for entertainment and connection, including our community of creators and artists who are building livelihoods from the platform.”

A Global Asset Management Seoul Korea Magazine

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