Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent have managed to draw the eyes of the US government for their dealings with American companies like Riot and Epic Games. Tencent own the former and have a 40% stake in the latter, not to mention ties with Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Discord, and more. Now, a government agency want to know how Tencent are handling the security of Americans’ personal data.
According to a Bloomberg report, the Committee On Foreign Investment In The US (CFIUS) have sent letters to the likes of Riot and Epic to ask about their “data-security protocols”. It’s the CFIUS’s job to investigate the business dealings of US companies to make sure they aren’t posing risks to national security.
This follows the US president’s crackdown on WeChat and TikTok. Tencent own the messaging app WeChat, while TikTok is owned by another Chinese company, ByteDance. Last month, Donald Trump issued executive orders that threatened to ban both apps from doing business in the US.
This interest in Tencent’s gaming properties is coming in the midst of the Trump administration’s trade war against China. While the White House have said the executive order against WeChat doesn’t affect Tencent’s gaming interests, it seems they may now be looking to hinder those too. The increased scrutiny faced by companies linked to Chinese businesses is already causing confusion, and, as the New York Times says, that may well be the point. Other companies with links to Chinese firms are already prepping PR to try and mitigate potential threats from the US government, too.
Let’s hope these bans aren’t a vision of things to come for the many games Tencent are involved in. Over the last few years, the company have also invested in the likes of Bayonetta makers Platinum Games, as well as the Path Of Exile devs Grinding Gear. More recently, the makers of System Shock 3 announced Tencent would be “taking the System Shock franchise forward”.