US WeChat ban could make iPhones in China useless

youtube, wechat ban

US President Donald Trump has recently signed an executive order banning transactions with ByteDance and WeChat which is owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd., in China. This has had a crippling effect on the market value of the company resulting in a loss of $46 billion.

WeChat, unlike TikTok, has much less presence in the US diaspora than China. However, it is widely used for payments in China. The order will take effect in 45 days with the apps getting removed from Google’s Playstore and Apple’s App Store.

Implications of WeChat ban in China

While TikTok has responded saying no due processes have been followed for the order and would attract legal action against the government, WeChat’s owner was quoted by BBC saying that the company is reviewing the executive order to get a full understanding.

WeChat, as we all know, is a Chinese messaging platform. But, in recent years it has turned out to be the go-to app for instant payments. It is used for all sorts of payments like bills, travel, shopping etc. It reigns supreme in China and smartphone users generally cannot imagine a phone without it. The implications of the order could mean the end of the iPhone in China in the long term.  

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It is likely that removing WeChat from the App Store will be more detrimental to iOS users than Android. Android, unlike iOS, allows side-loading of apps that are not available on the Play store. Hence, iPhone users in China will be left out after the ban making their devices pretty much useless.

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The US Government has been actively trying to cut every means of ties with Chinese Tech companies, accusing that their data will be easily accessed by the Chinese Government only to be used strategically later. It banned Huawei’s 5G equipment, and now is after applications like TikTok and WeChat. More Chinese apps are now on the radar.

Tencent hit badly

The executive order was also reportedly vague in the description and this led to a lot of confusion during the trading on Friday. Tencent is one of the biggest game publishers and as per Newzoo data. It has collaborations with Activision Blizzard Inc. and Electronic Arts Inc. It also owns the publishing rights of PUBG, a large stake in Fortnite maker Epic Games Inc., and Riot Games Inc.

Hence, confusion in this regard led to the shares of Tencent falling more than 10% before recovering to 6.8%. Trump’s order on WeChat follows a similar trend of the country’s approach to TikTok. However, the sudden decision comes as a surprise. That said, athough a US official clarified later that the order is limited to WeChat and not Tencent as a whole, the damage was already done by then.

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  1. cuesta virge
    August 7, 2020

    china has been banning lots of foreign apps for while now. its time for other countries to return the favor. its only fair since they want equal standing in the eye of the beholder.

    August 7, 2020

    China didn’t ban any foreign apps, its the foreign apps that failed to operate in accordance with Chinese laws, but for US to ban Chinese apps on grounds of national security, I find that somewhat uncalled for because those apps haven’t broken any US law.

  3. Felix
    August 7, 2020

    From the consumers perspective, Chinas bans only affect the Chinese consumers. If Trump really forces Apple to remove WeChat from the AppStore entirely in all markets, then the US is basically banning WeChat for all consumers, no matter where they come from. If they just wanted “equal standing”, they could just ban the apps in the US, like it is the case with TikTok and let the other countries decide if they see the need to ban it or not. Like, I live in Germany and the German government has not warned us about WeChat or TikTok. The US should not have the power to decide, if people in Germany can use an app or not.

  4. Tenek
    August 7, 2020

    Actually a very interesting perspective. I wonder if the app store will be region locked. Maybe if you have a Germany based account, it wouldn’t affect you. But if you are based in the US, then you won’t be able to download it? I’d be interested in seeing how they do it.

  5. Tenek
    August 7, 2020

    Also in China, the CCP has absolute control over every company and their data. There is no due process or protocol for safety or security of our data. So yes China having our data is a legitimate issue we should be concerned of. US does the same stuff, but China has history of misusing our personal information

  6. Tenek
    August 7, 2020

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. China bans everything that we have free use of. No Google no YouTube no Facebook. Literally their entire internet is censored….

  7. Kifakfia
    August 7, 2020

    Actually China didn’t ban any foreign apps or companies. its the foreign companies that failed to operate in accordance with Chinese laws.
    Look at Apple for example its full operatinal in China unlike google, apple respected Chinese laws and othe countires laws.
    Google is a very untransperent and malicious company, last year it got sued by the european parliament and fined over 9 billion euro for not respecting EU laws and not respecting EU’s privacy policy. i hope google is going to get banned in europe. It not trust worthy company and it works with US rogue regime.

  8. Felix
    August 7, 2020

    As far as I know, China has no history of misusing of our data. Could you please provide an example? I’m genuinely interested. And just for the sake of completeness: The US (NSA) has more scandals for spying on not only their own, but also foreign citizens. And there is evidence, that the US gov installed backdoors in CISCO Hardware, which shipped to other countries.

  9. Kifakfia
    August 7, 2020

    Actually he knows whats his talking about. China did not ban google and facebook. These 2 compnies did not come to a accordance with the law in china. When you want to sell your product in a country you must sign and agree with term and condition of that country and every country has its own terms…. Apple and many other wester apps respected china’s law and they are operating fully in china with no priblems.
    Google is a very untransperent company, last year it got sued by the european parliament and fined over 9 billion euro for not respecting EU EU’s privacy policy. Google/youtube is going to face a ban or a limited operation in EU if they keep crossing EU law..

  10. Felix
    August 7, 2020

    Yes, I thought it would be a regional restriction. As WeChat is an essential App in China, it would surprise me if the US gov would make the iPhone unusable in there, and effectively making Apple loose the Chinese market. But then again, they completely restricted Google to do business with Huawei, which also affected all the global markets except China. Interesting to see what’s coming.

  11. Kifakfia
    August 7, 2020

    Indeed. Its the other way around US has a huge history of misusing thier own citezen and forign citezens from ally countries with lots of evidence including snowden. But it seem some people turn a blind eye on US’s spying spree and point the finger on China with zero evidence.

  12. Steve
    August 8, 2020

    If US ban WeChat in Google play store and iOS in whole world, then at least 1.5 billions people will use 3rd mobile OS i.e. Harmony OS or Huawei phone.

  13. Bob Clark
    August 8, 2020

    How does the US ban of these “apps” make iPhones “useless” in China?!?