Will Japan Join The TikTok Ban Club?

A group of Japanese lawmakers are planning to investigate the risks within Chinese-developed apps, including Bytedance’s wildly popular TikTok, following the US’s national security concerns regarding the app, Bloomberg reported via Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun on July 28.

The probe would extend beyond social apps, per Bloomberg, citing a separate report from Japanese national broadcaster NHK that the Liberal Democratic Party group would also look to restrict Chinese-developed banking systems as well.

Earlier this month, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said that the Trump administration was weighing a ban on Chinese social apps like TikTok. Last month, India barred 59 Chinese apps from companies including Bytedance, Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba after recent border disputes. The Indian government banned an additional 47 apps this week.

Jing Take:

In a post-COVID-19 world, Chinese tech companies are left to face a hard fact: their identity is bringing them more trouble than ever; and the wider the reach of their products, the bigger the target. From its name to its external communications to its new CEO Kevin Mayer, TikTok has been trying hard to disassociate itself from its Chinese roots. But what’s facing Mayer, and perhaps other Chinese tech companies, is not just a business concern but a geopolitical one, where a growing number of security-related issues regarding Chinese apps is taking root.

Japan’s potential ban of Chinese apps is likely to stir bigger waves than threats from the US and India, given the history of the Sino-Japanese war in the 40s and 50s that had cost millions of Chinese lives. In recent years, however, the Chinese government has encouraged its people to ignore many Japanese brands from clothing to cars due to disputes over Diaoyu Islands. But with a new cold war over data security packing heat, the tit-for-tat that’s soon to follow will only alienate China from the rest of the world.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.