Dont lose sight of the proposed WeChat ban
Kids would be sad to lose tiktok but the proposed we chat ban could be a much bigger deal from American public media. This is marketplace tech I'm Ali would. We've been covering president trump's proposed ban on Chinese owned Tiktok but the president is also proposing to ban the Chinese APP we chat both of those orders could go into effect later this month Washington says, the APPS expose American user data to China's government, which is a possible national security threat. With we chat, there is real concern about surveillance and censorship, but the APP is indispensable for communication between people outside China and those inside the country, and it is equally essential for American businesses who want to reach Chinese customers Jennifer pack as marketplace's China correspondent Shanghai. If I could give you an analogy, it would be like if somebody said, you couldn't use facebook twitter Amazon then Mo zoom goal all at once it's so vital for two key reasons. So one is it's a communication tool, but more and more it's a marketing. Tool for businesses to reach potential Chinese consumers. The second and more important point about we chat is that it has its own payment tool we chat pay, and with this, you can open chat shops which a lot of smaller brands do. So it's really no wonder that the American of Commerce in Shanghai. Had done a quick survey recently and found that eight percent of respondents said banning we chat entirely is going to be really bad for their competitiveness and revenues. Wow. So it sounds like there's a couple things at play here one is. Literally, the ability to do business on we chat, but the messaging part is a really big deal to right because there aren't a lot of easy pathways for communication between the United States and China exactly there is no substitute I mean right now if you were to try to reach somebody in China, it's usually through we chat people don't even call each other on their lines. It's the we call. So if American businesses if they're completely locked out maybe they have to find an intermediary do you have a sense of weather American companies or Chinese companies might be pushing back about this ban I. Think There Are already is a group that has been petitioning the trump administration to at least show what's the basis for this ban the trump administration has cited national security reasons, and certainly we chat does censor. There have been people who have sent links and then the police calls them or they show up at their door, and obviously we had as a communication tool also means that Chinese officials can use it to intimidate dissidents overseas in the US, for example, or also those with family members in China but at the same time, because it's such a crucial link between the China and US business markets and also consumer base. Here, in China you know there's obviously going to be pushed back. We we just don't know how successful it's going to be. Is there a sense that some American companies could suffer more than others? Yeah for sure. I'm. So what's been laid out so far is that there are best case scenarios in worst case scenario. So the first one is a partial ban and that might mean apple and Google just have to remove. We chat from their US APP stores which still leaves a little bit of room for people in the US to bypass or find creative ways to get we chat sort of like. The way we get US APPS that are banned here in China. The worst case scenario is a total ban meaning apple and Google have to remove their APPs from their APP stores worldwide that includes China. So this is less of a worry for Google because Google APPs for doesn't exist in China, it's banned but for apple would be devastating because you know what's the point of people in China buying an iphone if they can't use we chat and as you said, of course, people use it as a communication tool not only to reach customers. But also for their staff we send documents to each other photos. Video all the time It's really a very handy tool because it's all in one. Jennifer pack as marketplace's China correspondent.