The Trump administration wants a “substantial amount of money” from Microsoft Corp if it acquired the US operations of TikTok.
President Donald Trump said the Chinese-owned short-video app would shut down on September 15 unless a US company bought it.
That way the “Treasury of the United States gets a lot of money,” Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday morning (Australian time).
He gave Microsoft Corp 45 days to come to an “appropriate deal” after the US tech giant formally declared its interest on Monday.
“I don’t mind whether it’s Microsoft or someone else, a big company, a secure company, a very American company buys it,” Mr Trump said.
The proposed acquisition of parts of TikTok, which boasts 100 million US users, would offer Microsoft a rare opportunity to become a major competitor to social media giants such as Facebook Inc and Snap Inc.
Mr Trump suggested it would be easier if Microsoft bought all of TikTok rather than 30 per cent, saying “I think buying 30 per cent is complicated.”
“Whatever the price is that goes to whoever owns it – because I guess it’s China, essentially, more than anything else – I said a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the treasury of the United States,” he added.
Mr Trump had said on Friday he was planning a ban amid concerns that its Chinese ownership represents a national security risk because of the personal data it handles.
He only agreed to allow Microsoft to negotiate a deal if it could secure it in 45 days, three people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
China said on Monday it was firmly opposed to any US actions against Chinese software companies, responding to remarks by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Washington will take action shortly against Chinese firms feeding data to Beijing’s government.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters during a daily briefing that China hopes the US can stop its discriminatory policies.
Microsoft, which also owns professional social media network LinkedIn, is also seeking to buy TikTok’s Canadian, Australian and New Zealand interests.