President Trump issued two executive order late on Thursday that aim to restrict the operations of Chinese social media apps WeChat and TikTok in the United States.
The move against TikTok was expected, but the restrictions against WeChat were not and could have far-reaching effects on how its parent company Tencent operates globally. Tencent has operations and deals across the States and in particular Silicon Valley.
As an example, Tencent currently reportedly owns a 17.5% stake in Snap, the American company behind Snapchat.
At the time of writing the scope of the ban is unclear, much of this down to the confused wording of the orders themselves.
MORE: @realDonaldTrump has also signed a similar order banning transactions with WeChat. pic.twitter.com/Y4nVlCVBke— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) August 7, 2020
The orders will come into effect in 45 days (20 September) and look to bar any transactions with WeChat or TikTok “by any person or involving any property subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” according to The New York Times.
This makes it seem as though the ban is similar to that given against Huawei in May 2019 that stops Huawei doing business with American companies. But given Trump has spent the last few weeks trying to outright ban TikTok from the States citing data security, it’s still unclear what these bans will end up blocking.
It’s likely the orders will be contested, and a retaliation from China is likely in this blatant escalation of the ongoing trade war.