Not just the US operations, Microsoft is aiming to acquire the global business of Chinese short-video making app TikTok, including in India where the app is banned, The Financial Times reported on Thursday. Microsoft is officially seeking to buy the TikTok operations in North America, Australia and New Zealand for a "reported figure of $50 billion".
However, according to the FT report, the Satya Nadella-run tech giant is aiming to buy the entire business of TikTok, including in India where it has been banned along with 58 other Chinese apps. Microsoft "is exploring whether it can add regions including India and Europe to the deal".
Microsoft has been involved in the Chinese tech world for far longer than many rivals. "Microsoft has mentored and trained the talent behind China's consumer tech explosion. That brought Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming to approach them once President Trump threatened to ban TikTok if it wasn't sold to an American company," tweeted Yuan Yang, Beijing deputy bureau chief and tech correspondent of the Financial Times.
US President Donald Trump has said that the country should get a large percentage of the proceeds if part of the short video-sharing platform TikTok's business is bought by an American firm. Microsoft has confirmed that it wanted to proceed with talks to purchase the US business of TikTok. The discussion between the Microsoft CEO and the US President led to setting a date for closure of the deal around September 15.
If such a deal does not materialise, TikTok will be out of business in the US by that time, Trump said. "I said a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States because we're making it possible for this deal to happen," Trump said in a meeting with US tech workers this week.
Meanwhile, facing threats of a US ban and smears by rival Facebook, ByteDance, owner of the video platform, said that in the course of becoming a global firm, it has "faced all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties, including the tense international political environment, collision and conflict of different cultures and plagiarism and smears from competitor Facebook".
TikTok has nearly 80 million monthly active users in the US. Many users have grown to rely on the platform for building a career in social media and earn a living. The firm's US job growth has already nearly tripled this year, surging from almost 500 employees on January 1 to just under 1,400.
Last month, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) directed the 59 banned Chinese apps to strictly adhere to the orders or face serious action in case of violation. The government banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, WeChat and UC Browser and Xiaomi's Mi Community in June over national security concerns amid the border tussle at Ladakh which also led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese PLA troops.
"These measures have been undertaken since there is credible information that these apps are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order," MeitY had said in a statement.