BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has confirmed that it has teaming up with Microsoft to bid for the viral video service TikTok.
The Trump administration has given the Chinese internet firm Bytedance, which owns TikTok, 90 days to sell its U.S. operation, or face having the service banned in this country. The White House argues that Bytedance represents a potential security threat, because the data it collects on its users, about 100 million of them in the United States, could potentially be exploited by the Chinese government.
TikTok, which provides a platform for users to create and share short videos, has gained a large following, particularly among young people. The Chinese version of the app has become an e-commerce destination, as well as a repository for short videos.
“The way TikTok has integrated e-commerce and advertising capabilities in other markets is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets,” Walmart said in a statement. “We believe a potential relationship with TikTok U.S. in partnership with Microsoft could add this key functionality and provide Walmart with an important way for us to reach and serve omnichannel customers as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising businesses. We are confident that a Walmart and Microsoft partnership would meet both the expectations of U.S. TikTok users while satisfying the concerns of U.S. government regulators.”
The software giant Oracle is another confirmed bidder for TikTok. Analysts predict that TikTok’s U.S. operations could sell for up to $30 billion.