Donald Trump has vowed to ban Chinese video-sharing app TikTok from operating in the US.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, the president said: “As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States.”
He did not specify how he intended to achieve what he described as a “severance”, but he could do it through executive action as early as this weekend.
“Well, I have that authority. I can do it with an executive order or that,” he said.
The words are the latest in the administration’s increasingly belligerent tone towards China and its technology companies.
They came after Mr Trump signed an order forcing Beijing-based owner ByteDance to sell the US portion of social network TikTok due to national security concerns, according to a report in The Washington Post.
Microsoft is understood to be in the lead to acquire the platform’s US service but would not comment.
TikTok said: “While we do not comment on rumours or speculation, we are confident in the long-term success of TikTok.”
It comes days after Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told staff to remove TikTok from their work and personal devices due to security concerns, according to a source within the campaign.
ByteDance launched TikTok in 2017 as a competitor to Facebook and Snap and it has grown in popularity, hitting two billion downloads during April.
But the firm’s rise – along with the deteriorating relationship between the US and China – has prompted US government scrutiny.
The US has long accused China of intellectual property theft which costs billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, something Beijing denies.
The other main concern is national security, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo having previously described Chinese state-backed tech companies as “Trojan horses for Chinese intelligence”.
US military personnel have also been discouraged from using Chinese technology because of the security fears.