45-day countdown to WeChat and Apple

WeChat ends tipping feature for iOS users after new Apple rules - CGTN

WeChat ends tipping feature for iOS users after new Apple rules - CGTN

Both WeChat and Apple have started a 45-day countdown.

On the evening of August 6th, US time, US President Trump announced the signing of two executive orders: the executive order on WeChat and TikTok will be executed 45 days later, which means that both WeChat and TikTok are facing the possibility of being delisted crisis.

▲ Executive order signed by Trump announced

The executive order against WeChat announced that from September 20, any organization or individual within the jurisdiction of the United States shall not be allowed to interact with WeChat and Tencent to which WeChat belongs, and two Any affiliated company of the company to carry out any transaction related to WeChat.

But looking carefully at this administrative order, the content it conveys is vague about the scope of the specific transaction-it neither expressly stated that it would “take down WeChat”, nor did it disclose the scope of “no transaction”.

Does listing on the Apple App Store constitute a transaction? Does the use of WeChat Pay constitute a transaction? Do overseas companies invested by Tencent constitute transactions? And will WeChat be delisted, or will it be delisted globally by the American company Apple? These ambiguous issues have become the focus of current discussions.

▲ Statement by Tencent

Tencent issued a statement on the evening of the 7th, stating that the company is reviewing the potential consequences of the administrative order in order to fully understand its impact on the group, and will issue further announcements in due course.

Not only WeChat, but Baidu and Alibaba are both named

Why is WeChat after TikTok? The official U.S. report said so.

CNN reported on August 6 that Trump claimed in an executive order that TikTok and WeChat would automatically capture a large amount of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information, such as location data and Browse and search historical records. This data collection not only threatens the property and information security of American citizens, but may also be used for extortion and espionage.

Leaving aside the feasibility of “threatening the property and information security of American citizens” for the time being, as far as the WeChat App itself is concerned, its influence is not high in the US market compared to TikTok.

As of the end of April this year, Douyin’s international version of TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times in the global Apple and Android app stores.

In the first quarter of 2020, TikTok has been downloaded 315 million times globally, compared to 186 million downloads of similar social applications on Facebook and 152 million on Instagram. Many American companies, including Facebook, have tried to develop applications similar to TikTok, and they have all failed.

If TikTok’s popularity makes certain stakeholders uneasy, then WeChat, which has always been a low profile in the U.S. market, will be targeted, which is more like a curse effect. In addition to WeChat and TikTok, Baidu and Alibaba have all been named.

On August 5, US Secretary of State Pompeo announced at a press conference that the United States had established a “Clean Network” (Clean Network). Seven companies including Tencent, Baidu, Ali, Huawei, TikTok, China Mobile, and China Telecom were named.

First, ensure that Chinese telecommunications companies that are not trusted by the United States do not provide international telecommunications services to the United States and other countries. Urge the US Federal Communications Commission to revoke and terminate the authorization to four Chinese companies including China Telecom.

Second, I hope to remove untrusted Chinese software from the US application store. Pompeo said that day, “These parent company applications in China, such as TikTok and WeChat, have seriously threatened the personal information security of American citizens.”

Third, the United States is preventing Huawei and other untrusted suppliers from pre-installing or downloading the most popular applications in the United States. Pompeo said US companies should not deal with Huawei.

Fourth, protect the most sensitive personal information and commercial intellectual property rights in the United States, and prevent some important information from being obtained by cloud systems operated by Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, China Mobile, and China Telecom.

Fifth, work hard to ensure that the information transmitted by the submarine cables connected to the global Internet will not be destroyed or leaked.

From this point of view, pointing out WeChat is one of the steps of the “clean network” operation. Although WeChat is not a mainstream social tool in the United States, the inclusion of this global monthly active application of more than 1.2 billion in the “executive order” is enough to see its shock effect.

Moreover, as one of the few Internet companies with more than 1 billion users, Tencent’s deployment in the United States is far more than WeChat. The game goes overseas and invests in US technology companies to make Tencent gain a lot of money.

Will WeChat be removed from the Apple App Store?

Under this ban, which has not yet been implemented, not only Tencent but also Apple is in trouble. On the one hand is the country’s decree and treaty, on the other is the second largest market after the United States-China. This ban puts Apple in a dilemma.

Going back to the decree itself, the decree does not directly prohibit the use of WeChat for communication, but prohibits transactions related to WeChat. Wang Chao, the founder of Wenyuan Think Tank, told Phoenix.com that WeChat has limited influence in the American social market, and its users are mainly Chinese and Chinese. But regardless of the specific details, the decree will greatly affect the experience of these user groups.

At the same time, this paper decree of the United States has brought increased global risks to Tencent. “Once the attitude of the United States deteriorates, other Western countries may follow the United States and increase Tencent’s risk.”

Judging from the current stage, the decree does not explicitly state that the WeChat App is not allowed to be available on the Apple App Market, but the “prohibition of transactions” means that WeChat in the United States may no longer have the payment function, nor can it cooperate with U.S. finance and third-party payment. , The advertising, marketing, and payment scenarios in the US market will also disappear.

The worst result is that the decree regards the relationship between Apple and WeChat as a “transaction,” and WeChat is completely removed from the Apple ecosystem. According to the decree, the launch of WeChat on the Apple App Store not only involves the US, but also China, Europe and other places.

Kuang Yuqing, the founder of Kinescope, told Phoenix.com that if Apple and WeChat within the jurisdiction of the United States are prohibited from trading, it is equivalent to letting Apple withdraw from China. This is the least likely to happen to Apple. A developer also pointed out that “not allowing Apple to have a deal with WeChat is equivalent to not giving Apple a way out.”

Another possible result is that WeChat may be removed from the App Store in the US and can be used normally in other regions. The decree did not issue specific rules, so it may weigh the pros and cons during the implementation process and amend it at any time. This is why the decree itself has room for interpretation.

The influence of the decree on other subjects in the WeChat ecosystem began to spread. Selena, a tech founder who started her business in the United States, told Phoenix.com, “The company has made psychological preparations for the delisting of WeChat in the United States.”

Since Selena’s target users are Chinese and international students in the United States, the decree on WeChat means that they will close the entire official account and community operations and switch to Weibo, Facebook, etc. An overseas student in Silicon Valley also told Phoenix.com that it will switch to QQ to contact family members and leave a variety of contact methods to prevent loss of connection in the circle of friends.

▲ Tencent share price

So far, Tencent’s stock price has fallen by more than 10%. Regarding whether WeChat will be completely removed from the Apple App Store, Phoenix Network Technology asked Apple for verification, but has not received a reply as of press time.

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