As the U.S. Congress pushes for a total ban on TikTok, the “application (app) diplomatic war” is in full swing. Experts believe that the discussion of the TikTok ban is only the beginning and that the move to exit other Chinese apps will accelerate.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said on the 25th (local time) that the hearing of the U.S. House Energy and Trade Committee on the 23rd showed that apps such as TikTok emerged as an issue at the forefront of the U.S.-China conflict.
So far, there has been no clear evidence that TikTok user data has been transferred to the Chinese government, but U.S. politicians are continuing to expand the scope of the ban on TikTok, citing “security.” Last month, the U.S. government ordered the removal of all TikTok apps from electronic devices in public institutions. Democratic Senator Mark Warner went one step further and announced that he had secured support from 10 ruling and opposition lawmakers each in a bill to ban TikTok the previous day. It is spreading to a movement to completely remove TikTok from all American smartphones.
WSJ explained that in the past, trade wars only needed to control goods crossing borders, but now the era has come when the flow of software and related technologies has to be managed. The U.S. government, which has been in a trade conflict with China, initially remained in a measure to limit imports of Chinese hardware such as Huawei, but is now putting the brakes on the use of Chinese apps such as “TikTok.” Some argue that the ban on TikTok in the U.S. follows China’s lead under the principle of technology protectionism, as China has banned the use of apps made in the U.S. or other countries in its own country, such as Facebook.
There are already cases in which disputes between countries have led to “no apps.” India has since banned more than 100 Chinese apps following bloody clashes with China in the Himalayan conflict zone in 2020.
Some interpreted that the move to ban TikTok in the U.S. is aimed at gaining an upper hand in technology competition with China. TikTok, which has 1.8 billion users worldwide, has taken advantage of the global app market and used “security” as an excuse to be wary of U.S. companies’ influence has decreased.