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TikTok Ban Could Endanger More Chinese-Owned Apps in US

As tensions escalate over the potential ban of TikTok in the United States, experts warn of broader implications for Chinese-owned apps operating in the country. Alex Capri, a lecturer at the National University of Singapore Business School and a research fellow at the Hinrich Foundation, underscores the precarious position facing these apps should TikTok face prohibition.

The US House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would bar TikTok from operating within US borders unless its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, sells the app to a US-based entity compliant with American regulatory standards, as reported by CNN. This move has drawn criticism from China, with Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, denouncing it as contrary to principles of fair competition and international trade norms.

Meanwhile, China has a history of blocking American social media platforms, citing concerns over data privacy and content regulation. Platforms such as Google, YouTube, Facebook (formerly Meta), and Instagram have faced restrictions in China for years. Google notably withdrew from mainland China in 2010 following cyberattacks it attributed to Chinese actors, refusing to continue censoring search results on its Chinese-language site.

While China’s actions against US apps are well-documented, the potential ban on TikTok in the US has prompted accusations of hypocrisy from some quarters. Brock Silvers, managing director at Kaiyuan Capital, highlights the irony in China’s criticism given its own restrictions on American social media platforms.

In response to queries about China’s stance, Wang Wenbin emphasized a distinction, labeling US actions as bullying and asserting a difference in their approach.

The fate of the TikTok ban now lies with the US Senate, where senators are reviewing the bill. Should it pass and reach President Joe Biden’s desk, he has signaled his intention to sign it into law, signaling potentially significant shifts in the landscape of social media and international tech regulation.

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