There are no winners in US-China technology divide
Jonathan D. Pollack – Brookings
TikTok and WeChat, two hugely successful Chinese social media applications that have gained global popularity, abruptly find their access to the U.S. consumer market at risk. In August, President Donald Trump ordered TikTok’s parent company ByteDance to sell its product to a U.S. company within 90 days. He simultaneously banned Tencent, the owner of WeChat, from most of its operations in the United States.
The administration has targeted these two apps, but with somewhat different purposes in mind. TikTok has a global following that already numbers 800 million users, and has ample allure to potential American bidders, including Microsoft and Oracle, with an estimated market value of $20-30 billion. WeChat is an all-purpose app within China and abroad, encompassing gossip, sanctioned and unsanctioned news reporting, online payment systems, and contact between Chinese living abroad and their families and friends at home.
The Trump administration sees malicious uses underlying dependence on both apps. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, utilizing Chinese social media tools leaves massive amounts of personal data vulnerable to exploitation by Chinese intelligence, though both parent companies deny these allegations. The U.S. claims that dangers to U.S. national security justify efforts to disconnect Chinese carriers from America’s telecommunications networks.
This article explores this intensifying U.S.-China technological divide. Read the full article below.