Oracle Corporation, the US database giant, is considering a bid for controversial social media app TikTok in a move that would scupper a proposed bid from Microsoft.

The US firm, run by billionaire Larry Ellison, has already held preliminary discussions with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, according to the FT, and is said to be working with venture capital groups Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic over funding for the deal.

TikTok has become an internet and mobile phone sensation during the coronavirus lockdowns, but US President Donald Trump has ordered that it sell its US business within 90 days on concerns it is harvesting data from users.

 A week ago, Trump issued a separate executive order that all transactions between ByteDance and US companies would be banned in 45 days time.

TikTok has denied claims that the Chinese government has access to its user data but is currently in discussions with Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT) to sell its US operations.

Reports last week suggested that Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has also reportedly held talks with ByteDance around purchasing TikTok, underlining the interest in the rapidly growing business.

TikTok has around a billion users and is owned by ByteDance, which also runs Chinese news platform Toutiao and is one of the country’s largest technology firms with a value of around US$100bn.

The US stance has ratcheted up the tensions between with China over trade and Donald Trump stirred the pot again earlier this week by signing up to Triller, a US-based alternative to TikTok.

Since joining, Trump’s entourage has published four videos on Triller.

Facebook meanwhile has set up its own  TikTok rival, Instagram Reels.