Trump threat to ban Tik Tok may backfire: experts

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/1 17:32:19

TikTok Photo: Unsplash

Tik Tok's Chinese parent company ByteDance agrees to a spin off deal to sell Tik Tok's US operations, Reuters reported on Saturday after the US President threatened to ban the popular short-form video social media platform from the US.

An all-out ban or a forced spin-off on rapidly rising short-form video app Tik Tok's US operations are nothing but a short-sighted political crackdown that will dent businesses' faith in the US market, said Chinese experts.

The comments came after US President Donald Trump Friday threatened to ban Tik Tok, a sharp reversal in attitude from earlier reported order to force TikTok's Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell its US operations to an American buyer, such as Microsoft. 

Trump said Friday that he will ban Tik Tok from operating in the US, rejecting a potential deal for Microsoft to buy the app from its Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance, CNN reported Saturday.

Earlier Friday, people working on the issue within the Trump administration expected Trump to sign an order to force ByteDance to sell its US operations of TikTok, according to the CNN report.

According to US media outlets, Trump said he will use his executive power to enact a ban on the world's most popular short video social media platform in the US as soon as Saturday.

From forcing ByteDance to sell its US operations to rejecting Microsoft to buy the app in US, it's questionable whether the US President is clear-minded, as he always likes to throw his weight around and interfere in business operations, Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based independent tech industry analyst, told the Global Times Saturday.

"But for sure, either way, the confidence in the US market by businesses from all over the world is affected by such wanton suppression," Liu said, adding that such a move will cause more losses than benefit.

Besides the app becoming overwhelmingly more popular among US teenagers, latest figures actually showed its usage among US adults has increased exponentially, with 26.5 out of the 500 million monthly active users coming from the US, according to industry data.

The growth momentum of Tik Tok shows that the platform will be a very good asset for any US company, and Trump's threat will heavily hammer its potential value, Sun Lijian, director of the Financial Research Center at Fudan University, told the Global Times Saturday.

The current frustration Tik Tok faces in the US will have a very negative impact on US-listed Chinese companies, which is likely to accelerate their homecoming trend, Sun said, adding that many companies have started preparing for worst-case scenarios amid increasingly coercive US moves.

If the Trump administration attempts to use an overbearing political crackdown on such a popular video app in its re-election bid, it may backfire instead, Sun said.

Global Times

Posted in: SOCIETY

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