President Donald Trump has signed two executive orders officially banning any U.S. transactions with Chinese companies ByteDance and Tencent, owners of apps TikTok and WeChat, respectively.
Trump’s executive orders would prohibit “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” with ByteDance and Tencent, beginning in 45 days. TikTok said it was “shocked” by the executive order and that it will respond in court, if necessary.
TikTok is the subject of increasing scrutiny bu the U.S. government, due to concerns that it could be compelled by Chinese law to hand over all of its collected data to the Chinese government.
Trump says TikTok must sell off its U.S. operations in 45 days and that the deal must include a substantial payment to the U.S. government. Otherwise, the app would be banned.
Microsoft is in negotiations with ByteDance to purchase TikTok in the U.S. and several other territories. Although Apple was rumored to be considering buying the app, that report turned out to be incorrect.
For its part, China has not reacted well to Trump’s threats, warning it would refuse to accept the “theft” of TikTok if any deal goes forward.
Tencent’s WeChat is heavily used in China as a messaging platform, as an interface for numerous other apps, and to make mobile transactions. WeChat is used around the globe and has over 1.2 billion monthly active users.
The executive orders could pose issues for several U.S. firms, as Tencent is an investor in them, including Reddit, Spotify, and Tesla. It also owns shares in League of Legends developers Riot Games, as well as Fortnite developer Epic Games.