President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders that would ban the social media app TikTok and WeChat from operating in the US in 45 days if they are not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies. TikTok is threatening legal action against the US after Donald Trump ordered firms to stop doing business with the Chinese app within 45 days.
The orders, which use similar language, do not state that a certain amount of money from the sale needs to be sent to the US Treasury Department, which the President has been insisting on for several days.
The order regarding TikTok prohibits after 45 days "any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd.," the Chinese company that owns the social media platform.
The video-sharing app has come under fire from US lawmakers and the Trump administration over national security concerns. TikTok’s parent company ByteDance faces a deadline of 15 September either to sell its US operations to Microsoft or another US firm or face an outright ban.
Sources previously told Reuters that ByteDance executives valued all of TikTok at more than $50bn.
Under a Chinese law introduced in 2017, companies have an obligation to support and cooperate with the country’s national intelligence work. “The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” Trump wrote in a letter to House speaker Nancy Pelosi.
WeChat, the other app targeted by Trump’s orders, is used widely around the world for payments, chatting and as an interface for other apps. It is a key channel of communication between the US and China. While most Western messaging apps are banned in China, users in the US use WeChat to conduct business transactions, advertise or communicate with friends and family in China.
TikTok is threatening legal action against the US after Donald Trump ordered firms to stop doing business with the Chinese app within 45 days.
The company said it was "shocked" by an executive order from the US President outlining the ban.
TikTok said it would "pursue all remedies available" to "ensure the rule of law is not discarded".
Mr Trump issued a similar order against China's WeChat in a major escalation in Washington's stand-off with Beijing.