Trump gives TikTok and WeChat 45 days to find a US buyer
Trump’s zero tolerance approach against Chinese-based companies has come to a head. He has just signed an executive order on TikTok and WeChat, giving them just 45 days to find a US buyer or cease operating in the United States if they are unable to do so in the given time.
Previously we saw Trump threatening to ban the popular video-sharing app TikTok in the US, but apparently WeChat was in his sights too. Microsoft has already publicly announced that they are discussing with ByteDance to acquire TikTok’s brand in several regions including the US and Australia, but WeChat might have to scramble to find a buyer.
If either Tencent or ByteDance fails to find a buyer for their apps, then the apps will no longer be allowed to operate in the US, or perform any transactions with any US companies, which essentially seals their fate. Of course, they might approach a non-US company, which should also get around Trump’s ban on all things from China.
In his executive order, he cited India on how Tiktok was “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting user data in an unauthorized manner” to servers outside India. Part of the deal being discussed between Microsoft and ByteDance is to fully migrate all the data belonging to US users back to US-based servers, and deleting them from the Chinese servers.
Despite TikTok’s persistent denial of sharing any data with the Chinese government, they are owned by ByteDance, which is a China-based company. Regardless, it appears that WeChat and TikTok in the US and possibly several other regions will be handed over to US companies, although ByteDance will presumably continue hosting the servers for TikTok in other regions like South East Asia.
Pokdepinion: I wonder if Microsoft will acquire WeChat in one go. That would make their social media game much stronger.