President Donald Trump has recently made an executive action against Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat. Trump is very concerned that data collected from American account holders don’t end up in the hands of the Chinese government.
But recently, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that this move might cover not just these two top-rated online apps but also take action against ByteDance, Tiktok’s parent company, and Tencent, WeChat owner.
One of Trump’s orders prohibits any transaction with Tencent and ByteDance by any person and as well as any person “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.”
It was not defined what “transaction” meant, but the U.S. Secretary of State mentioned that this could suggest that transactions may extend beyond TikTok and WeChat.
Tencent head financial officer John Lo said that WeChat and Weixin are different products, and WeChat are for international customers while Weixin is for mainland Chinese members. Lo said that the executive order affects We Chat in the U.S. but not their other businesses. He further said that they are trying to clarify these from related parties in the U.S.
TikTok Ban on App Stores
The White House is also working on another executive order that will force all smartphone companies to scrap TikTok from their respective app stores and make any ads on the said platform illegal. With this restriction, iPhone and Android smartphone users in the U.S. will not be able to update their apps or download a new version.
Trump has also expressed that the only way to lift TikTok’s ban is to locate a buyer to manage its U.S. operations before September 15.
Tech giant Microsoft has announced its interest in buying TikTok’s operations in the country, also in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Microsoft further mentioned that it is currently in talks with the app’s owner to secure this deal.
Virtual U.S. – China Trade Meeting Set
Despite the ban on TikTok and WeChat, the U.S. and China are preparing for a virtual trade meeting. The date of this event is yet to be announced. It is not sure if the ban will be discussed in this critical trade meeting, but negotiators from China are pushing for this subject.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian mentioned that TikTok is just an entertainment platform shared not only by Americans but by the rest of the world. It is not related to national security.