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TikTok Time Bomb: U.S. Ban Sparks Legal Battle

Daniel Kim Views  

The U.S. passed a bill forcing TikTok’s American business to be sold within 270 days.
TikTok’s CEO vows not to leave and anticipates legal battles.
Concerns about whether the Chinese government will retaliate against U.S. companies are raised.
Despite efforts to attract foreign investment, it may be difficult to retaliate against the U.S.

EPA-Yonhap News

The Chinese company ByteDance is under pressure to sell its video platform TikTok’s US business within a year due to the so-called “TikTok ban law.” As the TikTok ban law passes the US Congress and is officially enacted by the administration, there is growing interest in how China will respond. Will China retaliate? That’s the question on everyone’s mind.

US President Joe Biden officially signed the TikTok ban bill into law on the morning of the 24th (local time). The “21st Century Peace Through Strength Act” bill requires ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US business rights within 270 days. However, if there is significant sales progress, the US President can extend the deadline by 90 days. President Biden, who had previously said he would sign the bill into law as soon as it reached his desk, made no special mention on the day.

The company has announced its plans to take legal action. TikTok said, “This law is a TikTok ban, and it’s unconstitutional. We will raise objections in court.” CEO Chew Shou Zi also declared in a video message, “We’re not going anywhere.” He emphasized, “The facts and the Constitution are on our side, and we will win again.” If a lawsuit proceeds, the law implementation could be significantly delayed.

Whether the Chinese government will step in is another point of interest. There are predictions that the Chinese government could retaliate against American companies operating in China. Bloomberg reported that “China could use market access as a weapon of retaliation.” The report suggested that China, which has been calm in its response during the US election season, could change its position in response to this measure. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce stated, “We will take measures to protect China’s legitimate rights and interests firmly.” Xiaomeng Lu, a director at the Eurasia Group, told Bloomberg, “China is keeping its options open. If TikTok has to leave the US, some American tech brands could be at risk of collateral damage in the tit-for-tat cycle.”

However, many predict that retaliatory measures by the Chinese government will not be easy, unlike the company’s legal action. There are numerous factors to consider before the Chinese government can step in. China, grappling with sluggish domestic demand and stagnant growth, seeks to attract foreign investment. The side effects could be greater if the government imposes further regulations on American companies. Wei Zongyou, a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, said, “If US companies are sanctioned, their concerns could grow. This means that the possibility of additional restrictions and sanctions on Chinese companies is not that great.”

The US presidential election in November is also a variable. If former Republican President Donald Trump is elected, the atmosphere could change. Former President Trump has expressed concern that banning TikTok would benefit its competitor, Meta.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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