From next week, WeChat and TikTok apps will no longer be offered in US app stores. The Chinese apps are also not allowed to offer updates. The US Department of Commerce has announced that. WeChat is also not allowed to process payments in the United States.
According to the US government, the apps collect too much data on users they share with the Chinese government. As a result, the apps posed a threat to U.S. national security. According to the US Trade minister, the new ban is intended to “protect Americans from the threat of the Chinese Communist Party”.
American president Donald Trump earlier announced a ban on the two apps, which they could avoid if they sold their American branch to an American company. TikTok’s parent company ByteDance then met with software makers Microsoft and Oracle and finally reached an agreement with the second company. In addition, ByteDance would not sell out, but would transfer its American Activities to a separate American company in which Oracle would acquire a minority stake.
TikTok was given the time to sell his American branch from Trump until November 12. Although it is no longer possible to download the app from Sunday onwards, not much changes for the 100 million Americans who already have the app on their phones until then.
That could change after November 12th. The US Department of Commerce prohibits, from then on, inter alia, transactions with TikTok in the US that allow the operation or optimization of the app. In other words, the app will become worse or slower when the ban comes into effect.
Before WeChat, owned by the Chinese Tencent, those additional restrictions are already in place on Sunday. The particularly popular app in China combines a payment service with chat and social media functions. Worldwide, 1 billion people use the platform. According to Apptopia, WeChat had an average of 19 million daily users in the US in August.
The actions against WeChat and TikTok concern only transactions within the US. As a result, American companies can still do business with the apps beyond national borders. This is good news for large supermarket chain Walmart and Starbucks, who keep in touch with customers and arrange payments via WeChat. Apple and Google can also offer TikTok and WeChat in their app stores outside the US.
About the author: Matthew Johnson
Matthew Johnson, a small tech business owner retired and found his passion in journalism.