US technological authoritarian mentality hurts American companies
Published: Aug 09, 2020 09:18 PM

Photo: VCG

The US is too strong to accommodate TikTok, a short video sharing platform. Superficially, this reflects that the US' decoupling from China that has extended to the technology sphere is accelerating. But profoundly, this is a result of an ideological struggle that the US has inherited from the Cold War. 

It would be a classic American inspirational story if TikTok was born in the US. However, TikTok is stigmatized as a national security threat to the US only because the founder of its parent company is Chinese.

In the process that TikTok became international, the Chinese system has played a role of nourishing and support rather than setting obstacles - as some US media outlets smear - that hold Chinese technology companies back from opening up in the world market. 

China's business environment is consistent with international standards. This is exactly the reason why ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, can have the opportunity to fight for its own corner of the global market. 

TikTok has been operating in the US conforming to the country's laws. But the problem is that the US today maintains its leading position by cracking down on and slandering rivals - worse, it also calls on allies to do that with it. 

Nonetheless, the CIA said there is no evidence that Chinese intelligence authorities have intercepted data or used TikTok to bore into smartphones, the New York Times reported on Friday. This is a blow to calls from US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to neutralize a so-called threat from the app's presence on millions of American devices. 

It is the US and the amplified US-launched ideological war that created the situation we are in today. This has nothing to do with China. 

The US currently divides technology companies by ideology, and artificially sets anything related to China as being antagonistic. Washington has long been adrift in anti-China paranoia. Its hysterical suppressions on China seem to benefit US companies in competition with China in the short term. But in the long run, such a technological authoritarian mentality has already affected American companies' competitiveness. 

Facebook's TikTok knockoff, Instagram Reels, made its big debut in the US on Wednesday. With this near clone of TikTok, Facebook aims to steal a share of the short video market at a time when TikTok is under attack. 

The debut of Reels mirrors the popularity and success of TikTok on the one hand, on the other, it shows American companies' lack of innovation capability. Does the US now have to win over others through theft and robbery?

China's political system and ideology did not, does not, and will not restrict dynamic companies like TikTok and Huawei from innovation and development. It is the US' Cold War mindset that tries to stifle them.