Tencent (TCEHY) just became the latest target in President Donald Trump’s rapidly escalating tech war with China.
The Chinese company’s popular messaging app WeChat could now be banned in the United States, if Tencent doesn’t agree to sell it by mid-September. The announcement rattled investors and left companies and analysts scrambling to figure out the potential fallout.
It sent Tencent shares plunging as much as 10% in Hong Kong. They pared back some of those losses, but still ended the day down nearly 5%. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index (HSI) fell 1.6%.
Trump issued executive orders late Thursday night that would ban WeChat and TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, from operating in the United States in 45 days if they are not sold by their parent companies. Trump had already said that he would ban TikTok if a deal for the app is not reached with an American company, but the inclusion of WeChat indicates that Washington is broadening its efforts to restrict some Chinese apps from operating in the United States.