Microsoft yesterday announced its interest in acquiring TikTok from ByteDance for selected international markets. This was soon followed by US President Donald Trump announcing a ban on TikTok if it was not sold to a US company by September 15th. The move has not gone down well with the Chinese government who will not allow for such “theft” of a Chinese tech company.
The statements were made in an editorial in China Daily Newspaper that’s known to act as a mouthpiece of the Chinese government. The editorial says that China has “plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab.”
The United States’ “bullying” of Chinese tech companies was a consequence of Washington’s zero-sum vision of “American first” and left China no choice but “submission or mortal combat in the tech realm”, the state-backed paper said in an editorial.
Global Times also had an editorial on Trump’s ban on TikTok, but it noted that China had “limited ability” to protect Chinese companies from such retaliation because the US has technological superiority and has close ties with its allies.
There’s a possibility that the Chinese government could end up banning Apple or put it an Entity list of its own as a retaliatory measure which was rumored previously as well. The two other major U.S. tech giants, Facebook and Google, are already banned in China. At one point, Apple was dominating the premium smartphone sales in China and was rapidly expanding its retail presence in the country as well. However, over the last couple of years, Huawei has replaced Apple as the dominant premium smartphone brand in the country with its impressive flagship smartphones.
It will be interesting to see how China reacts to the US basically forcing ByteDance to sell TikTok to a US company and whether Apple will be a casualty of this war or not.