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China slams US ‘bullying’ over Tiktok, WeChat

Shanghai (AFP) — China on Saturday accused the United States of ”bullying” and suggested it may take unspecified countermeasures after Washington banned downloads of popular video app TikTok and effectively blocked the use of the Chinese super-app WeChat.

”China urges the US to abandon bullying, cease (its) wrongful actions and earnestly maintain fair and transparent international rules and order,” a statement by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said.

”If the US insists on going its own way, China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”

The United States made the moves against the two Chinese apps on Friday, citing national security grounds and escalating a fight with Beijing over digital technology.

Under the order, the Tencent-owned WeChat app would lose functionality in the United States from Sunday. TikTok users will be banned from installing updates but could keep accessing the service through November 12.

That timeframe potentially allows for a tie-up between TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, and a US company to safeguard data to allay Washington’s security concerns.

US officials described Friday’s measures as essential to national security as President Donald Trump confronts Beijing during a tough re-election campaign.

On Friday, Wall Street stocks fell again with technology shares extending their retreat as escalating US-China tensions over TikTok added to investor unease.

The tech-dominated Nasdaq again pulled back on weakness in Apple, Amazon and other tech giants, losing 1.1 percent to 10,793.28.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.9 percent to 27,657.42, while the broad-based S&P 500 shed 1.1 percent to 3,319.47.

All three indices finished with losses for the week.

The drop extended a downward trend from Thursday’s session, when disappointment over the lack of US stimulus and the cloudy outlook for coronavirus vaccines dented sentiment.

On Friday, analysts cited worries over US-China relations after the Trump administration ordered a ban on downloads of TikTok and effectively blocked the use of WeChat on US national security grounds, escalating a fight with Beijing over digital technology.

Friday also marked a quarterly options expiration day, sometimes a source of additional volatility.

A note from Charles Schwab described the ”festering” state of US-China relations, as well as political uncertainty ”as the highly-contentious presidential election looms and a fiscal relief package appears not be in the offing.”

Among individual companies, steel producer Nucor rose 0.5 percent after projecting better-than-expected third-quarter results as it pointed to strong demand connected to commercial construction.

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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