Under the pretext of national security, President Donald Trump signed an order on Friday that requires the Chinese company ByteDance to sell or divest its TikTok business in the United States within 90 days.
The order comes after an investigation by the US Foreign Investment Committee.
“There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance could take action that threatens to harm the national security of the United States,” Trump said in the order, as reported by CNBC.
A previous executive order asked ByteDance to sever US trade ties within 45 days. Friday’s order gives the firm more time to reach a deal that would save TikTok for some 100 million US users.
While the loss of TikTok would be a relatively minor blow to the App Store ecosystem, the impending ban on Tencent’s WeChat messaging app could have major consequences for Apple.
With more than a billion monthly active users in Asia, the ability to use the WeChat shopping and messaging app is key when buying a new smartphone. Earlier this week, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimated that Apple could see a 30% decline in global iPhone sales if Trump’s WeChat ban goes into effect.
Several companies, including Apple, have asked the White House to reconsider its position on WeChat, but their collective request appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
When Trump was asked on Friday if he was concerned that iPhone sales would falter due to the ban, Trump said, “Whatever … I’ll do what I have to do for the security of the country.”