President Trump Now Targeting Tencent, Who Own Riot Games And 40% Of Epic

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Photo:  Tom Pennington, Getty Images
Photo: Tom Pennington, Getty Images

US President Donald Trump’s attacks on TikTok escalated wildly today, after he signed an Executive Order that not only seeks to prevent Americans from doing business with ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company), but also targets Tencent, the Chinese giant that among other things owns Riot (League of Legends), along with partial stakes in everyone from Ubisoft to Epic Games to Paradox.

While TikTok’s impending ban was already being widely discussed, the similar measures being introduced against Tencent have come as a surprise. At the moment the wording of the orders appear to be restricted to Tencent’s social media and commerce platform Wechat:

The entire first page of the Wechat-related order mentions only the social media platform. But the wording of one section in particular is less clear about that, as it would forbid “any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd…or any subsidiary of that entity”.

Image: Section 1 of the order is less clear that it’s only Wechat being targeted here.

The section 1 (c) mentioned specifies that the government has 45 days to nominate just which of Tencent’s subsidiaries would be subject to this ruling (provided it’s not thrown out in the inevitable legal challenges).

While that would seemingly exclude companies like Epic and Ubisoft, since Tencent only has a minority stake in their overall ownership, it could potentially impact Riot Games, developers of League of Legends and Valorant, Supercell (Clash of Clans), Grinding Gear Games (Path of Exile) and Funcom (Conan Exiles, Age of Conan), all of whom are either wholly or majority owned by Tencent.

Complicating matters further, Tencent develops games for other publishers, including Call of Duty: Mobile for Activision and the upcoming Pokémon Unite.

As this story is still developing, we’ll update it when we have more information from the parties involved, who we’ve contacted for comment.

Comments

  • It’s almost like an election is coming up and he’s trying to appeal to the same crowd that voted him in because he was going to build a wall around Mexico and kick all the Muslims out of the country. Hopefully even they are tired of the crap he’s put the US through this and every other year and he gets the big Ol’ boot.

    On the other hand, I don’t particularly feel comfortable about China having so much of the pie at the moment.

    • He’s definitely blasting China at any chance because it’s an easy scapegoat to deflect blame onto, but I’m guessing he’s targeting Tencent/TikTok because he’s pissy about Tulsa.

    • You imply that there’s some greater political strategy at work here instead of what it actually is – a piece of brain vomit from a man child with a messiah complex, too much power and not enough brains.

  • Chinese companies have so many stakes in games like this because US publishers are so shitty.

    Compare Tencent to EA. EA buys companies and then destroys them when they don’t achieve impossible goals.

    Tencent buys companies and gives them loads of money and allows them to grow.

    Is it any wonder game companies are embracing Chinese investment?

    • I’m not particularly a fan of Tencent first off. I’m actually pretty apprehensive anytime they pick up yet another studio or such, but you bring up something I want to touch on.

      My major issue with a lot of the hate is that a LOT of the people who love to complain about them have no clue they have been playing and enjoying games from studios that Tencent are involved with.

      There are more games that they’ve got their money in than a lot of people seem to realise, and said games are definitely not all worse off for it.

      • I personally don’t now enough about Tencent to make a definitive opinion in them. My knowledge is more on the crimes of the CCP.

  • When a Western company does business in China, they have to form a joint venture with a local Chinese company who owns controlling interest (51%), and owns 100% of the Intellectual Property in china. Its also insanely regulated and on the whim of the communist party can be stopped or change deals, or seized any IP or company assets.

    The fact that Chinese companies are not held to the same restrictions in Western countries to a limit of 49% foreign ownership is ridiculous.

    At the moment ARM UK owned by Softbank has serious issues in China, cause ARM China CEO has gone completely rogue and refused to step aside after a corruption investigation. Since ARM UK (the head office and parent company) and Softbank (the equity owner) have ZERO rights in China to do anything about it.

    • Yep. All of these kinds of arrangements should be reciprocal. Which is why I have no problem with banning the likes of TikTok. If foreign social media are blocked in China, I see no reason why Chinese social media should be allowed to cash in outside of China.

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