President Trump on 6th August 2020 issued an executive that means Chinese apps like TikTok and WeChat could be banned in the US. The order follows the US Senate unanimous vote banning the social media app from all government-owned devices.
The ban takes effect in 45 days. White House reporter Andrew Feinberg tweeted the executive order, showing a similar order for China’s WeChat.
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) August 7, 2020
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However, the ban could have different implications for the two Chinese entities. For WeChat, the social media site is the only entity facing a ban while TikTok’s ban covers its parent company, ByteDance.
The implication is that WeChat’s parent company Tencent could be unaffected. Tencent owns Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, and has a major stake in Fortnite developer, Epic Games. This would effectively mean that only its social media arm WeChat faces the ban. It also means that despite the ban on WeChat in the US, Tencent can continue its other American operations.
For ByteDance, the executive order bans all transactions with it, but, Microsoft may still be able to acquire the American arm of its TikTok. TikTok could escape the ban in the US under the condition that an American company owns it. This allows Microsoft to complete the takeover of the American arm within its 15th September deadline.
India had also previously banned TikTok, WeChat, and 48 other Chinese apps for similar security reasons. Like the US, the Indian authorities claim that the Chinese government uses the apps to commit espionage. A claim the companies repeatedly deny.
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