- TikTok is facing a potential ban in the United States if not sold within 45 days;
- Trump also preps a ban on WeChat and called Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat and Bytedance’s TikTok “significant threats”;
- TikTok gained ground in international markets. India, Brazil and Mexico are among the 10 markets where the app was most downloaded in 2020.
U.S. President Donald Trump has unveiled sweeping bans on U.S. transactions with the Chinese owners of messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok, escalating a high-stakes confrontation with Beijing over the future of the global tech industry.
TikTok has come under fire from U.S. lawmakers over national security concerns surrounding data collection as distrust between Washington and Beijing grows. Reuters on Sunday reported that Trump has given Microsoft Corp 45 days to complete the purchase of TikTok’s U.S. operations.
The executive orders announced Thursday and effective in 45 days come after the Trump administration this week flagged increased effort to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks, calling Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat and Bytedance’s popular TikTok “significant threats.”
TikTok has a hold on social media users – and competitors – worldwide like no other Chinese-owned app. While India ranks first as the country where the app was most downloaded in 2020, Brazil comes right after, with 54.6 million downloads and Mexico places in the 7th position, with 20.6 million. But, on the other hand, the social media phenomenon has been up against the wall in some markets.
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The United States is not alone in its concern about Chinese internet apps: WeChat and TikTok were among 59 mostly Chinese apps that India outlawed in June for threatening its “sovereignty and integrity”.
China said on Friday the companies comply with U.S. laws and regulations and warned that the United States would have to “bear the consequences” of its action.”The U.S. is using national security as an excuse and using state power to oppress non-American businesses. That’s just a hegemonic practice,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing.
“We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process,” TikTok said in a statement on Friday, adding that it would “pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded”.
The ban on U.S. transactions with Tencent, one of the world’s biggest internet companies, portends further fracturing of the global internet and severing of long-standing ties between the tech industries in the United States and China.
According to CNBC’s David Faber, Microsoft and TikTok are planning to finish the acquisition talks within the next three weeks, in a deal that could cost as much as $30 billion.