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TikTok granted 45 day reprieve in the US as Microsoft races to acquire app from Bytedance

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By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

August 3, 2020 | 4 min read

Microsoft has pledged to move quickly to acquire TikTok from parent company ByteDance by 15 September. It has also promised to ensure all private data of American users is transferred to, and remains in, the United States.

US president Donald Trump had said he would soon ban TikTok in the US because of national security risks presented by the platform and other Chinese software companies.

However, Trump put his plans on hold after talks with Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella, agreeing to give Microsoft and Bytedance 45 days to mash out a deal.

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TikTok

TikTok has been granted a 45 day reprieve in the US

Why is this happening?

  • Some believe the US is wary of the potential of China tech giants, such as TikTok, WeChat and Weibo, expanding beyond their borders.
  • TikTok generated revenue of $5.6bn during the first quarter, growth of 130% year-on-year, and in April surpassed 2bn downloads across both iOS and Android devices according to Sensor Tower.
  • During Q1 alone, TikTok saw installation numbers of 315m – the largest download figure for any app to date in a single quarter. That surge was, in part, driven by the global lockdowns imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also in the advertising – mainly through Snap – to build its young user base. And suddenly it has caught the attention of older generations too.
  • A group of TikTok users conspired to embarrass Trump on his drive for a second term in office through fake sign-ups to a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma – a feat they attempted to repeat in New Hampshire.
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