Washington puts heat on US executives at Chinese firms, with TikTok latest example

Washington puts heat on US executives at Chinese firms, with TikTok latest example

  • China links are increasingly stressful and unpredictable for American professionals in business, think tanks and academia
  • High-profile defections from Chinese companies are growing as Trump administration increases pressure

The sudden resignation in late August of TikTok’s American chief executive Kevin Mayer after just three months on the job underscores the searing pressure professionals at Chinese companies are facing as US-China relations deteriorate, the Trump administration targets tech firms and election season accusations fly.

“We are in a new Cold War with China and the US,” said Richard Levick, chief executive of the Levick crisis management firm that represents Chinese clients. “And there’s lots of collateral damage.”

Mayer’s surprise departure from TikTok came amid an intense US government campaign against the social media platform – famous for short dance and music videos – including executive orders by US President Donald Trump intended to cripple its US operations and force a sale to American owners within 90 days.