U.S. President Donald Trump announced a major escalation with Beijing Thursday (August 6), targeting major Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat -- and their parents.
It's a new executive order from Trump that bans U.S. transactions with TikTok owner Bytedance and Chinese tech titan Tencent, which runs the messenger app WeChat.
This all comes days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said America will purge "untrusted" Chinese apps from U.S. app stores.
"President Trump has mentioned impending action on TikTok - and for good reason. With parent companies based in China, apps like TikTok, WeChat, and others are significant threats to personal data of American citizens, not to mention tools for CCP content censorship."
ByteDance's TikTok is hugely popular in the U.S., with over 100 million users.
It's become a target of the Trump White House and lawmakers, who say the way it handles personal data is a national security risk.
But it's the ban on Tencent's WeChat that really ups the ante from Trump.
TikTok does not operate in China, while WeChat has over 1 billion users throughout the country, connecting Chinese citizens with family members and friends around the world.
And Tencent is China's second-most valuable company after Alibaba with stakes in several U.S. tech and video game companies, including Tesla, Snap, and Epic Games, maker of 'Fortnite.'
Trump issued the orders on both apps under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law that gives his administration the power to bar U.S. firms or citizens from trading or conducting financial transactions with sanctioned parties.