East Asia Watch

US-China tech ties: Breaking up is hard to do

Why the Trump administration's 'decoupling' efforts are too little, too late

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TikTok, possibly the most downloaded app among American post-millennials today, triggered an uproar in recent weeks when this seemingly innocuous social media streaming platform found itself caught up in the storm of Sino-US tech rivalry.

The reason: revelations that the US Army was using it for purposes of recruitment. In fact, amid the present climate of disquiet regarding China's growing technological reach, TikTok, owned by Chinese tech unicorn ByteDance, was already being viewed with consternation by US regulators, given its access to the personal data of millions of young Americans.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2019, with the headline US-China tech ties: Breaking up is hard to do. Subscribe