EIU analyst: U.S. move on Chinese apps sign of growing protectionism
Updated 15:55, 07-Aug-2020
By Global Business

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's latest call for U.S. app stores to remove what he calls "untrusted" Chinese-owned apps signals a significant escalation in the China-U.S. tech war and further positions the U.S. as a protectionist state, Wang Dan, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), told CGTN.

"I think Mr. Pompeo's tone is very aggressive, [and while] it is quite consistent with his previous speeches targeting China, this speech, talking about 'untrustworthy apps,' actually marks a very important escalation in the technology war or technology sanction towards China," said Wang.

Wang said she expects more aggressive measures from the U.S. against China.

"In a way, it shows that the U.S. has become more protectionist. There are only three months to go before the presidential elections. I think we're expecting more similar moves [against] China in the future," said Wang.

Wang also pointed out that it remains uncertain if U.S. companies will comply with the governments' measures, adding that the likelihood for all of them to do so was low. "I think the likelihood for all U.S. apps or U.S. tech companies to [un]install Chinese apps is very low. But there is a likelihood that some companies will comply," she said.

On Wednesday, Pompeo announced plans to expand the "Clean Network" program and urged American companies to bar "untrusted" Chinese apps from app stores, specifically citing TikTok and WeChat, in his speech.

The "Clean Network" program, aimed at protecting America's telecommunications and technology infrastructure, listed five new areas that the U.S. government is seeking to prohibit Chinese companies from accessing: app stores, apps, cloud services, mobile carrier networks and undersea internet cables.

Responding to Pompeo's announcement, China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Thursday said that China firmly opposes the U.S. government's action to eliminate Chinese apps from its digital networks, adding that the U.S. action has no factual basis and it goes against market principles.