Is TikTok going to be banned in the US? An Asian Perspective with Jing Yang

Is TikTok going to be banned in the US? An Asian Perspective with Jing Yang
Jing Yang shares her perspectives on the recent bill from the US Congress and examines the prospects of TikTok being divested or if not, facing a ban in the US.

Fresh out of the studio, Jing Yang, the Asia Bureau Chief for The Information, provided an insightful analysis of the potential implications of the recent U.S. House of Representatives bill to force Bytedance to divest TikTok or face a ban in the US. Detailing a timeline of events, she illuminated how Bytedance and TikTok executives may have misinterpreted U.S. political signals. Despite Bytedance's profitability in China, she shed light on why TikTok is facing financial challenges and the complex dynamics between Bytedance and the investors of the company. Concluding her discussion, she offered her perspectives on the possible future of TikTok globally pending the outcome.

"If we assume that happens, I'm sure TikTok, let alone ByteDance as a company as a whole, will survive - and maybe even continue to thrive after this. Because, let's put things into perspective, right? TikTok has more than 1 billion users globally and then the US represents just a little over a 10th of that, 170 million. So I'm not saying that it's not going to impact TikTok and ByteDance. But does it pose an existential threat? Probably not. I believe given we already talked about how ByteDance has been super profitable. I think that, even if they get banned in the US, this is by no means the end of TikTok or ByteDance." - Jing Yang


  • Jing Yang, Asia Bureau Chief from The Information (LinkedIn, @jingyanghk, The Information)
  • We start with your origin story: how did you start your career?
  • How did you eventually come to be the Asia Bureau Chief from TheInformation? 
  • From your career journey, what are the lessons you can share with my audience?

Is TikTok going to be banned this time? with Jing Yang

  • References from TheInformation
  • Let’s start at the beginning, this is the second time that the US is trying to ban TikTok. Can you talk about the chronology of events that led the US Congress with 353 to 65 votes to pass a bill last week to force TikTok into divestment and if not, they will be banned in the US? (Source: CNBC
  • Depending on the US Senate and President Biden signing on to turn this into an actual bill, what are the chances of the ban likely to happen?
  • Chew Shou Zi, the CEO of TikTok responded. What are the official arguments against the US making such a ban?
  • What are the implications for TikTok being banned in the US and how does it impact the content creators and users in that market? 
  • What is the one thing you know about the current TikTok situation that very few do?
  • There are three stories in which TheInformation broke and I will start with the latest one: What factors led to TikTok's misjudgment of the political situation in the U.S., particularly regarding the bill to force TikTok to dissociate from ByteDance?
  • Can you discuss the motivations and challenges TikTok faced in restructuring its operations and investing $1.5 billion to create a separate data security unit?
  • How effective has Project Texas been in addressing U.S. concerns about data security, and what are the criticisms it faces from U.S. lawmakers?
  • Challenges with US Data Security (USDS): What operational difficulties has the establishment of USDS posed for TikTok, and how is it perceived within the company?
  • Chew Shou Zi took over the US negotiations when he came on board as TikTok CEO. How did he manage the negotiations with CFIUS and the U.S. Data Security (USDS) team? 
  • How has Chew Shou Zi's communication and decision-making style affected TikTok's approach to addressing U.S. concerns about data security and Chinese ownership?
  • How do we assess Bytedance and TikTok’s team in handling this whole issue with the US? 
  • The second article concerns the TikTok app losing money. For a long time, from my sources, ByteDance has been known to be printing money with Douyin and I was surprised by the news of TikTok losing money. Given that ByteDance does not disclose TikTok's financial performance, how do you assess the impact of its reported losses on investors' confidence and the long-term sustainability of the app?
  • With TikTok generating roughly $20 billion in revenue yet facing significant losses, can you discuss the main factors contributing to these financial outcomes?
  • How could the potential U.S. ban on TikTok affect its financial performance and efforts to become profitable and at the same time, the losses impact its ability to raise future funding or affect its valuation in the eyes of current and potential investors?
  • Then I came to the other article when the Bytedance investors distanced themselves from the TikTok app. What do you believe has caused the shift in investors' approach towards supporting TikTok now, compared to their mobilisation in 2020 during the Trump administration's attempt to ban the app?
  • Jeff Yass stands out as an investor willing to support TikTok publicly and it is alleged that he has had an impact in making former President Trump change his stance on TikTok. How do you assess the role of political affiliations and donations in shaping investors' public stances on contentious issues like this?
  • Considering the potential ban or forced sale of TikTok in the U.S., what does the future of TikTok look like?


Podcast Information: Bernard Leong (@bernardleongLinkedin) hosts and produces the show. Proper credits for the intro and end music: "Energetic Sports Drive" and the episode is mixed & edited in both video and audio format by G. Thomas Craig (@gthomascraigLinkedIn).