The Trump administration is looking into US video game companies’ involvement with China’s Tencent Holdings, Bloomberg reports. The news came shortly before the administration announced the order to ban other Chinese-owned apps, TikTok and WeChat.
According to Bloomberg, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), sent letters to companies (including Epic Games Inc., Riot Games) to inquire about their security protocols in handling Americans’ personal data. Tencent is one of the largest tech companies in the world, holding stakes in video game studios, music companies, and social media platforms.
Tencent owns Los Angeles-based Riot Games (League of Legends maker) and has a 40% stake in Fortnite studio Epic Games. The company also has single-digit stakes in various game companies, such as Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Platinum Games.
While Tencent deals largely with the gaming industry, it also has US holdings in other major industries, from music to social media.
Tencent’s Ties to US Companies Under Scrutiny
Tencent’s production company and distributor, Tencent Pictures, is involved with major Hollywood productions like Wonder Woman, Venom, and the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick. This year, Tencent also bought a 10% stake in Universal Music Group, and the NBA has signed a five-year deal with Tencent to stream games in China.
Starting on September 20, Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s TikTok will be removed from app stores. WeChat will also face technical restrictions, which will make in-app activity, like fund transfers and payments, more difficult.
In an emailed statement to Associated Press, Tencent said it will continue to discuss ways to address the government’s concerns and seek long-term solutions.
No direct action, or any ban, is currently being placed on other Tencent-involved apps or companies. Fortnite remains unavailable in app stores following an unrelated legal battle with Apple and Google regarding in-app purchase policies.
Trump Tencent Order — Sources
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