WeChat is popular among Chinese students, ex-pats, and a few Americans who have personal or business relationships in China.
US President Donald Trump’s ban on transactions using popular Chinese messaging app WeChat will cut ties to families and friends in China, many users within us fear, as they become the most recent casualties within the standoff between the two nations.
WeChat, owned by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings, is popular among Chinese students, ex-pats, and a few Americans who have personal or business relationships in China. hottest messaging apps within us, including Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and Telegram are blocked in China.
“I came to the US for free of charge access to information. I feel I’m targeted by Trump,” said Tingru Nan, a Chinese grad student at the University of Delaware. “I’m living in constant fear now thinking I’d get disconnected with friends and families.”
The ban will stop much more than the up to six million Chinese people that sleep in us. within the past three months, WeChat has had a mean of 19 million daily active users within us, consistent with analytics firms Apptopia.
Expats, who are adept at working around oppressive firewalls in their home country, are preparing backup plans while in America.
Some WeChat users have begun to share backup contacts for a limited number of apps that are still available in China, including Microsoft Corp’s Skype and LinkedIn.
Others decide to do what they are doing reception to urge around the “Great Firewall,” because the blockade of foreign apps in China is understood, by using virtual private networks (VPN) that mask a user’s identity on a public network.
“When in China I want to use a VPN to form Gmail and Instagram work. I’ve never imagined that I want to try to similar things within the US,” said Tao Lei, a Philadelphia-based tech worker.
Allison Chan, a Chinese-American in Florida, uses a VPN whenever she visits China to access US sites like Facebook, Google, and Twitter, which are blocked by the Chinese government.
“After the 45 days is up, I’ll experiment with it and see if we will still use WeChat,” Chan said.
She said WeChat has been a serious tool for her and her parents to speak together with her grandparents in China.
“I understood the security argument, except for me, it had been more about how I’m getting to ask my family,” Chan said. “My parents are worried about my grandparents because their health has been declining and that they want to urge constant updates about them.”
Some Chinese ex-pats in America worry that this is often only the newest salvo during a worsening US-China relationship.
“My parents are more worried than me once they saw the news,” said Yun Li, a User Experience (UX) designer in Boston who is from Guangdong, China. “They also asked me to significantly consider moving back to China given the present political environment,” she added.