Twitter has reportedly held preliminary talks with TikTok, the troubled Chinese-owned social media app that Donald Trump has threatened to ban by 15 September.
It comes after the Wall Street Journal reported at the weekend that the deal would involve TikTok’s US operations, but it’s unclear if Twitter will move forward with an acquisition.
Earlier this week ByteDance, the China-based firm that owns TikTok, vowed to sue the US government over an executive order launched against the company by President Donald Trump
The move comes amidst escalating attacks on Chinese companies by President Trump, who faces are-election contest later this year.
Trump also signed an executive order targeting WeChat owner Tencent, in both cases citing national security concerns.
The orders ban US companies from making deals with the two Chinese firms after a period of 45 days.
Trump has essentially threatened to ban TikTok after 15 September unless its US operations are sold to a domestic US company.
And one US companies said to be interested is Microsoft, after it and ByteDance confirmed they are in talks over a potential deal, which Trump said he would support as long as the US government receives a “substantial portion” of the sale price.
TikTok is reportedly worth tens of billions of dollars, and while Microsoft could potentially afford to purchase TikTik, it is unclear if Twitter could.
Twitter for example has a market cap of around $30 billion.
Industry-watchers have speculated that the US may use the executive orders to ban WeChat and TikTok from Apple’s App Store and Google Play worldwide, bringing into question the ability of Tencent and ByteDance to sustain their international businesses.
The orders are part of a broader trade-related conflict between the US and China that has seen the US take a series of actions against Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE.
Last week US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged American companies to remove “untrusted” Chinese-owned technology from their networks.
The administration’s push for a so-called “clean network” was called an act of “madness” by Chinese state-backed media.
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