US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to ban transactions with TikTok's parent company ByteDance. The executive order signed on Thursday night says the US "must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security", the BBC reported. Under the order, beginning in 45 days, any US transaction with ByteDance will be prohibited.
The executive orders come after the Trump administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge "untrusted" Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks and called TikTok and WeChat "significant threats."
The hugely popular Tiktok has come under fire from U.S. lawmakers and the administration over national security concerns surrounding data collection, amid growing distrust between Washington and Beijing.
"This is the rupture in the digital world between the U.S. and China ... Absolutely, China will retaliate," James Lewis, a technology expert with Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Reuters. "On TikTok, Trump is clearly putting pressure on Bytedance to close the deal," Lewis added.
TikTok has 100 million users in the United States. Reports earlier this week said President Trump has given China's ByteDance 45 days to negotiate a sale of TikTok to US tech behemoth Microsoft Corp, Reuters reported exclusively.
Microsoft said in a statement on Sunday that it would continue negotiations to acquire TikTok from ByteDance, and that it aimed to reach a deal by Sept. 15. This followed a discussion between Trump and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
According to the U.S. officials, under its Chinese parent, TikTok poses a national risk because of the personal data it handles. Trump had warned on Friday that he would ban the popular short-video app.
However, Microsoft cautioned in its statement that there is no certainty a deal will be reached. "Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President's concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury," Microsoft said in a statement.
ByteDance and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Microsoft talks. In a statement issued late on Sunday that did not mention TikTok, ByteDance said it faced "complex and unimaginable difficulties" in going global.