To take on China's rapidly growing TikTok app in the west, US tech giant Google is reportedly considering the acquisition of rival short video app platform Firework.
The US-based video sharing platform functions very similarly to Bytedance's TikTok app, which is also more popularly known as Douyin in China.
Google has apparently recognized the huge earning potential of the growing short video app market and the company is reportedly now ready to invest to get into the business.
According to a report published by The Wall Street Journal, Google had reportedly already held talks with the owners of the short video sharing startup.
The report, which cited sources close to the talks, speculated that the negotiations will could likely end up with a partnership as opposed to a full acquisition.
The same report also revealed that Google wasn't the only one interested in the acquisition of Firework. China's Sina Weibo, a platform that is similar to the US' Twitter, has apparently expressed interest in an acquisition deal.
Firework, which is owned by Loop Now Technologies based in Redwood City, California, was able to raise more than $100 million in its fundraising campaign earlier in the year. While the company's platform does have some similarities to ByteDance's TikTok app, it does differ in some key areas.
The app mainly targets an older audience as opposed to TikTok's much younger user base.
The app also doubles TikTok's maximum video length, from 15 seconds to 30 seconds. One of the main features on the Firework app is its Reveal feature, which lets users record videos both vertically and horizontally all at once. This allows viewers to flip their screen to any viewing orientation any time they want.
Compared to TikTok, Firework is relatively very small. The US app only has around 1 million users worldwide, a far cry from TikTok's more than 500 million global users.
TikTok is also much more valuable and has a much wider audience. The Chinese app is valued at more than $75 billion and is available in 75 languages.
As of 2019, ByteDance's app is ranked as the third most-downloaded app in the world, right behind popular apps such as Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp. TikTop has been considered by some as a potential threat to current social media giants given its increasing user base and popularity.
Tech startups have taken notice and have been trying to develop their own short video sharing platforms. Facebook is reportedly testing a similar app called Lasso. Meanwhile, Snapchat is reportedly experimenting with its own platform that offers the same services and features as TikTok.