The move escalates the US confrontation with Beijing over the future of the global tech industry and willl invite some retaliation.
The executive orders announced and effective in 45 days come after the Trump administration this week flagged increased effort to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from US digital networks, calling Tencent WeChat and Bytedance’s TikTok “significant threats”.
China said the companies comply with US laws and regulations and warned that the United States would have to “bear the consequences” of its action.
“The US 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.
TikTok has come under fire from US lawmakers over national security concerns surrounding data collection as distrust between Washington and Beijing grows. Reuters on Sunday reported that Trump has given Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) 45 days to complete the purchase of TikTok’s US 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 US 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.
China will retaliate in this caseand it will be interesting to see what it does.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expanded a programme dubbed “Clean Network” to prevent various Chinese apps and telecoms firms from accessing sensitive information on US citizens and businesses.