US President Donald Trump’s extension of the deadline for a TikTok deal ends today. The Trump administration is battling Beijing’s
US President Donald Trump’s extension of the deadline for a TikTok deal ends today.
The Trump administration is battling Beijing’s efforts to influence politics and technology in the US, citing Chinese ownership of TikTok and WeChat and the apps’ security flaws as potential threats to national security. In August, Trump issued an Executive Order effectively banning TikTok and WeChat from US app stores. However, TikTok may survive if it becomes American owned or if a court injunction issues. Thus far, database giant Oracle and retail behemoth Walmart have attempted to claim a minority stake in TikTok, forming a new TikTok Global.
However, this TikTok Global deal—contingent on both Washington and Beijing’s approval—is likely to fall through. Beijing is reluctant to give US companies access to the app’s source code and is resolutely opposed to Washington appropriating Chinese companies for political purposes. Beijing is expected to deny any TikTok deal and to let it play out in American courts, thereby allowing the apps to remain available in the US until a final court decision is reached.
In the long term, this battle is likely to define the complex environment companies operating in both China and the US will face. Wariness of increasing Chinese influence, amplified by the run-up to the November election, may translate into legislation limiting Chinese access to the US technology sector.
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