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US government eyes Epic, Riot after TikTok, WeChat ban

Tencent-linked companies investigated as trade war intensifies.

The US government is probing the security protocols of Unreal Engine and Fortnite maker Epic Games, plus League of Legends creator Riot Games.

Letters have been sent by the US Treasury Department to various companies linked with Chinese conglomerate Tencent, a new Bloomberg [paywall] report states, which ask them to hand over data.

Tencent owns Riot outright, and holds a 40 per cent stake in Epic.

The US Department of Commerce stepped up its trade conflict with China today by announcing it would ban popular messaging and social media apps TikTok and WeChat from this Sunday. US President Donald Trump has claimed both collect data on US users which could threaten security.

A deal has been in the works to transfer TikTok operations to a US company which would see it evade this measure. Less than 48 hours now remain for this to be finalised.

The worry for Epic, Riot and others here is the US government pushing for the sale of Chinese interests in other US companies - though we're a little way away from that just yet.

Tencent owns a stake in dozens of video game companies, including chunks of Supercell, Marvelous, Bluehole, Netmarble and Frontier, as well as five per cent each of Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and Paradox.

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