by Jason Cohen
The top four downloaded applications in the past 30 days in the U.S. Apple App Store and Google Play Store are owned by Chinese-tied companies, according to data from Apptopia analyzed by Axios.
While these Chinese-tied apps are thriving in the U.S., American apps are typically not permitted to operate in China due to the country’s strict censorship, according to Axios. China has over one billion internet users according to Statista, so the U.S. is missing out on a massive market while China has exclusive access to it.
These applications are Temu, CapCut, TikTok, and SHEIN, according to Apptopia and Axios. Temu is an online retailer competing with Walmart and Amazon, people use CapCut for editing videos for TikTok, people use TikTok for video sharing, and SHEIN is a fashion e-commerce app, according to Axios.
CapCut and TikTok are both owned by ByteDance, a company whose employees have accessed TikTok user information to surveil American journalists who were covering the company in 2022, according to Forbes.
SHEIN and Temu have attempted to escape the level of scrutiny TikTok has received by creating a distance to their Chinese roots, according to The Wall Street Journal. SHEIN “changed its parent company from a Hong Kong-registered firm to a Singapore-incorporated entity” in 2021 and “Temu is based in Boston and runs its U.S. business through a Delaware-based company.”
Chinese law enables the government to solicit data from businesses based there for national security reasons, according to CNBC.
“Mobile apps are one of the most powerful vectors for expanding trade and exporting soft power, given how widely accessible they are, how much time is spent on them, and how little regulatory oversight there is online,” according to Axios.
Until recently, lawmakers have usually targeted “hardware and enterprise technology firms like Huawei and ZTE,” according to Axios. TikTok is the first popular app that authorities are threatening to disallow.
Bytedance, SHEIN, and Temu did not respond to Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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Jason Cohen is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “A Man with a Woman Using Her Phone” by Samsung UK.