Tencent is drawing the attention of the U.S. government, as Bloomberg is reporting that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. “has sent letters to companies, including Epic Games Inc., Riot Games and others, to inquire about their security protocols in handling Americans’ personal data.”
Tencent fully owns Riot Games and has a 40% share of Epic and parts of Activision Blizzard, Grinding Gear Games, Ubisoft, and others.
The Trump administration has focused its attention on Chinese tech firms in recent months, with the president sparring with TikTok owner ByteDance as well as focusing attention on Tencent-owned WeChat. (UPDATE: The White House has banned transactions via TikTok and WeChat.)
It’s been a popular notion for years now that Tencent-owned companies “sell our data to China” or some variation thereof, which is probably rooted more in paranoia than in fact. Tencent and its associated companies have always denied such allegations, so if nothing else, this line of inquiry should either confirm or put those notions to rest — assuming its all conducted legitimately. Money talks, and Tencent has a lot invested in American companies and gamers, so don’t be too surprised if some sort of deal is brokered before things get too antagonistic.