Twitter has approached Chinese owner of TikTok, ByteDance, to express interest in buying its operations in the United States, according to reports.
The TikTok video-sharing platform has been at the center of fierce debates in recent weeks and discussions about the takeover.
Last week, Donald Trump ordered companies to stop doing business with TikTok within 45 days for security reasons.
Tech giant Microsoft is the frontrunner to buy TikTok, but now Twitter has become a possible contender.
But it’s still unclear whether Twitter can afford to buy TikTok from its Chinese owners and close a deal within the 45-day deadline, according to sources quoted in The Wall Street Journal.
The value of TikTok’s U.S. operations is unclear, but estimates put it at tens of billions of dollars.
Twitter’s market capitalization is around $ 29 billion (£ 22 billion), eclipsed by Microsoft’s at over $ 1.6 billion.
But experts believe that a possible Twitter deal would be less subject to regulatory scrutiny than Microsoft’s.
A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on a possible deal as TikTok did not respond immediately when contacted by the BBC.
Last Friday, Mr. Trump ordered U.S. companies to stop doing business with the Chinese app within 45 days. The Trump administration claims the Chinese government has access to user information collected by TikTok, which the company has consistently denied.
In response to the president’s decree, TikTok threatened legal action against the United States, saying it was “shocked” by the decision.
The U.S. government has also unveiled a ban on China’s-owned messaging app WeChat as tensions escalate between the two countries.
Mr Trump said last week that he would support Microsoft’s efforts to buy out TikTok’s US operations if the government gets a “substantial chunk” of the revenue.
He has set a deadline of September 15 for the deal to go through or the ban to continue.
Microsoft has said it will “move quickly to continue discussions” for TikTok’s operations in the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
“Even if the deal goes through, whether Microsoft or Twitter taking a substantial stake in TikTok, it remains to be seen how the two sides move forward operationally,” said communications expert Sharon. Koh.
“It will also take a tumultuous effort for the two organizations to cross political sensitivities,” she added.