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Will TikTok and Tencent’s Titles Be Banned In The USA?

Nutan Lele
7/Aug/2020 01:31 pm

US President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that seeks to ban TikTok in 45 days, stifling business with its parent company ByteDance. The order is also aimed at Tencent’s social media and commerce platform WeChat. Tencent, the Chinese goliath, has a majority stake in Riot Games, the makers of League of Legends and Valorant. Tencent also has deep roots in American business with stakes in a number of major players including Ubisoft, Epic Games, Snap, NBA and Paradox. 

(Also Read: Indian Government Identifies 7 Chinese Firms Including Tencent With Ties To Chinese Government)

Tencent's WeChat in trouble

WeChat is likely to be taken down from Apple and Google’s app stores in 45 days, which will at least lead to suspension of updates for the vital service. The potential repercussions underscore Tencent’s pivotal role within the global tech and internet economies. The order related to Tencent seems to be restricted to its social media and commerce platform WeChat as of now. The first page of the WeChat-related order mentions only the social media platform. However, section 1 (a) states that “any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd...or any subsidiary of that entity...as identified under section 1 (c)”.

Section of OrderSection 1 (a) of the Executive Order

Section 1 (c) specifies that the government has 45 days from the date of the order to nominate which of Tencent’s subsidiaries would fall under the jurisdiction of the order (provided it’s not thrown out in the inevitable legal challenges).

While companies like Epic Games and Ubisoft may be excluded as Tencent has a minority stake in their ownership, this could potentially affect Riot Games, developers of one of the world’s most played games, League of Legends and their FPS Valorant. This would also impact Supercell (Clash of Clans), Grinding Gear Games (Path of Exile) and Funcom (Conan Exiles, Age of Conan), all of which are either fully owned or majorly owned by Tencent.
Tencent also develops games for publishers like Activision (Call of Duty: Mobile) and are behind the upcoming Pokémon Unite.

While the White House’s hostility towards TikTok is widely reported, Tencent coming into the line of fire is a surprise. The Trump administration had threatened to ban TikTok over concerns that their parent company ByteDance was potentially spying on its numerous American users. 

(Also Read: Will Mobile Legends Be Banned In USA?)

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Nutan Lele

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Nutan Lele is AFK Gaming's source for everything from Twitch to the Twitterati. Her focus lies in distilling esports content from around the world. As the former captain of Girlaxy India, she brings an experienced eye in analysing the League of Legends scene.