More than a dozen major U.S. multinational companies, including apple and Disney, held a conference call with White House officials on Tuesday, expressing concern about the possible impact and scope of the ban imposed by US President trump on wechat, believing that it may weaken the company's market competitiveness. Apple, Ford, Wal Mart, Disney, P & G, Intel, metropolitan insurance, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UPS, Merck and Cargill attended the conference call, people familiar with the matter said.
"For those who don't live in China, they don't understand the consequences if American companies are not allowed to use it"said Craig Allen (Craig Allen), President of the China-US Trade Council. "They will be at a serious disadvantage compared to all competitors ," he added.
The companies either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment. People familiar with the matter said the conference call was organized by the China US Trade Commission, the American Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.
The organizers first introduced the company executives, including those dealing with international relations and trade.
Some participants were concerned that the wording might make the order applicable to US companies around the world, including those in the Chinese market. Wechat is the dominant business platform in the Chinese market.
Wechat has more than 1.2 billion users in the world and is ubiquitous in China. Consumers, enterprises and various institutions use wechat for mobile payment, communication and even business. For anyone doing business in China, wechat is also an important marketing channel to establish contact with consumers.
According to people familiar with the matter, one of the purposes of the conference call was to seekClarify the exact meaning of Trump's signing of the executive order last week。 The order forbids Americans to engage in "any wechat related transaction", but the details of which transactions will be banned need to be formulated by the US Department of Commerce.
Companies want the U.S. government to narrow the scope of its orders in the coming weeks, people familiar with the matter said. The trump administration also announced a similar action on the short video application tiktok. Tiktok owner byte jump is in talks to sell its US business.
Both companies said they would protect users' privacy. On Wednesday's earnings call, Tencent chief financial officer Luo shuohan said the company believes Trump's order only applies to wechat international. "We are seeking further clarification from the U.S. authorities," he said
Nevertheless, American companies are worried that this may completely cut off their access to the lucrative Chinese market,For example, they are cut off from receiving and paying via wechat or advertising.
Apple is one of the most interested American companies. Being forced to delete wechat from the device could have devastating consequences for the company. Guo Mingqi, an analyst at Tianfeng securities, predicts that if the ban takes effect, the globaliPhoneShipments could fall by up to 30%. Apple declined to comment.
meanwhile,Some U.S. entertainment and sports companies worry that they may not be connected to Tencent's other digital services.
Scott Kennedy, a business expert at the center for strategic and international studies, said, "in fact, it's hard for US companies to come forward and say that the US is wrong and China is right."
Meanwhile, according to surveys conducted in May and June, 83% of the members of the Sino US Trade Council regard China as one of the top or five priorities of their global strategy.
Nearly 70% of respondents were optimistic about China's business prospects in the next five years, and 87% said they had no plans to shift production outside the Chinese market.
"Sino US trade and investment have created about 2.6 million jobs in the United States," said Alan of the China US Trade Council "We need to maintain and increase these jobs in the next few years." (Chen Chen)