United States President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that looks to ban both TikTok and WeChat from operating in the USA if they are not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies, ByteDance and Tencent, respectively.
As reported by CNN, the order for TikTok’s parent company states that after 45 days, “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd.” will be prohibited.
The order for WeChat’s parent company states that after 45 days, “any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd. (a.k.a. Téngxùn Kònggǔ Yǒuxiàn Gōngsī), Shenzhen, China, or any subsidiary of that entity, as identified by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) under section 1(c) of this order.”
While the ByteDance order could impact many around the world if a potential sale doesn’t go through within the timeframe, the order for Tencent could potentially have even greater ramifications for the gaming world.
Tencent has many investments in US companies, and fully owns League of Legends and Valorant developer Riot Games. It also has a major stake in Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite. Furthermore, Tencent has an ownership stake in Activision Blizzard, Clash of Clan’s Supercell, Ubisoft, and operates other such games as Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG Mobile.
As far as ByteDance is concerned, Microsoft and its CEO Satya Nadella have been in talks with President Trump about a potential purchase, and it mentioned it would begin talks with ByteDance with hopes of “completing these discussions no later than September 15.”
ByteDance’s order alleges that TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”
Tencent’s Order alleges that WeChat “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information. In addition, the application captures the personal and proprietary information of Chinese nationals visiting the United States, thereby allowing the Chinese Communist Party a mechanism for keeping tabs on Chinese citizens who may be enjoying the benefits of a free society for the first time in their lives.”
While it’s hard to currently guess what will happen with these companies and apps in the US, and how this will affect the gaming industry at large, it is a big development that IGN will be following closely over the coming days.
Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected].
Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.