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Trump Administration Eyeing Riot and Epic Games Ties to Tencent After Banning TikTok and WeChat

Following a decision to ban TikTok and WeChat from US App stores, the Trump administration is now scrutinizing U.S gaming companies with ties to Chinese businesses, namely Tencent

The U.S Government is scrutinizing game developers with ties to Tencent, the Chinese tech giant with a diverse investment portfolio, including Activision, Bluehole, Ubisoft, Paradox and Blizzard.

This comes hot off the heels of today’s news that the Trump administration will be banning ByteDance’s TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat from mobile app stores this Sunday. Both services are used by over 100 million people in the United States.

According to a newly published report from Bloomberg, the administration is now asking gaming companies to “provide information about their data-secrutiy protocols involving Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings LTD., people familiar with the matter said.”

Tencent is the world’s largest gaming company. It completely owns League of Legends and Valorant developer Riot, and has a 40 percent stake in Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite. The US Treasury Department has sent letters to various companies with ties to Tencent asking them to send over data regarding security protocols and how Americans’ personal data is protected.

It’s not entirely clear what could come of this situation. If the Trump administration decides that companies like Epic and Riot should be treated the same as WeChat and TikTok, the two, among others, could be forced to seek U.S ownership or be banned from the country. Efforts to do so with TikTok have been fruitless – a deal was in the works for Microsoft to purchase the video-sharing app, but fell through. With a September 20 deadline approaching for the app to find a US company to transfer over to, it’s entirely possible that the app will be outright banned.

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Otto Kratky

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