The United States President, Donald J. Trump on Thursday issued executive orders, banning any U.S transactions with the Chinese companies ByteDance that owns TikTok, and Tencent which owns WeChat. According to Trump, “the spread of mobile applications developed and owned by Chinese companies in the United States, continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
The executive orders signed by the president on Thursday, will come into effect in 45 days. However, Microsoft is in discussion to acquire TikTok operations in the U.S.
Under a Chinese law introduced in 2017, companies have an obligation to support and cooperate with the country’s national intelligence work.
TikTok has been under scrutiny in the U. S, the company is accused of transferring American users data to the Chinese government. U.S is the third largest market for TikTik after China and India. The app has been downloaded over 175 million times in the United States according to the White House.
The Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Armed Forces have already banned the use of TikTok on Federal Government phones. American companies and organizations have begun banning TikTok on their devices.
According to President Trump, “the United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.”
The executive orders prohibits “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” with the companies, beginning in 45 days.
WeChat, another app banned under the executive order, is used widely around the world for payments, chatting and as a key channel of communication between the US and China businesses, since most Western messaging apps are banned in China.
India had included TikTok and WeChat in the list of apps banned in the country. The government in Delhi said the apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”
In July, UK banned Chinese tech giant Huawei from its 5G network.
On Wednesday, U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expanded efforts on “Clean network” programme, preventing various Chinese apps including Chinese telecom companies from assessing sensitive information on U.S Citizens and businesses.