TikTok has 100 million users in the United States.
The executive orders, which were announced Thursday and go into effect in 45 days, come after the Trump administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks and called TikTok and WeChat “significant threats.”
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.
The hugely popular TikTok has come under fire from U.S. lawmakers and the administration over national security concerns surrounding data collection, amid growing distrust between Washington and Beijing.
Reuters on Sunday reported that Trump has given Microsoft Corp 45 days to complete the purchase of TikTok’s U.S. operations.
“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.
“This is the rupture in the digital world between the U.S. and China,” said James Lewis, a technology expert with Washington-based think-tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“Absolutely, China will retaliate.”
While WeChat is not popular in the country, the app, which has over 1 billion users, is ubiquitous in China. It is also widely used by expat Chinese as a main platform for communications with family and friends as well as a medium for various other services such as games and e-commerce.
WeChat and TikTok were among 59 mostly Chinese apps outlawed in India in June for threatening the country’s “sovereignty and integrity.”
Operator Tencent is China’s second most-valuable company after Alibaba at $686 billion. It is also China’s biggest video game company and earlier this summer opened California-based studio. Tencent’s shares fell nearly 10 per cent in Hong Kong after Trump’s order before they regained some ground later in the trading day.
The yuan, a barometer of Sino-U.S. relations, posted its steepest drop since the United States expelled China from its Houston consulate a little over two weeks ago.
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