President Trump’s TikTok ban could force Apple to remove the short-form video sharing platform from the App Store around the globe, including in China.
The executive order signed by the president last week would officially ban any U.S. transactions with TikTok if its Chinese owner ByteDance doesn’t do a deal to sell it to a U.S. company in the next 45 days.
A White House document sent out to supporters and seen by Reuters, the ban is designed to cease U.S. business transactions with TikTok, disrupt its funding, and eliminate its ability to operate within the United States.
“Prohibited transactions may include, for example, agreements to make the TikTok app available on app stores … purchasing advertising on TikTok, and accepting terms of service to download the TikTok app onto a user device,” the document states.
The document is believed to have been written the same week as two other executive orders signed by Trump that target Chinese businesses, including Tencent, owner of the popular WeChat platform.
WeChat is particularly popular in China, where it is used as a messaging platform, acts as an interface for numerous other apps, and to make mobile transactions. WeChat is estimated to have over 1.2 billion monthly active users.
Apple’s annual global iPhone shipments could fall by as much as 30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the globe, says Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo
Microsoft has publicly confirmed its intention to purchase TikTok in the United States and is currently in discussions with ByteDance. Twitter has also reportedly expressed interest in the service.