Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok said Monday night that it would pull its social video platform out of the Google and Apple app stores in Hong Kong amid a restrictive new law that went into effect last week.

Why it matters: TikTok's move comes as many large tech companies say they are still evaluating how to respond to the Hong Kong law.

What they're saying: "In light of recent events, we've decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong," a spokesperson told Axios on Monday night.

  • Observers have said the new law forces companies doing business in Hong Kong to provide user data to the Chinese government as well as to comply with censorship requests.

Between the lines: The move comes as TikTok parent ByteDance has looked to more clearly separate TikTok, which operates outside of China, from a similar app used within mainland China. The company has said that TikTok has not shared data with the Chinese government nor would it, a position that would be difficult — if not impossible — to maintain under the new law.

TikTok said last September it had 150,000 users in Hong Kong. While that number has probably since increased, it remains a small market and an unprofitable one, according to the company.

Go deeper

Trump issues order banning TikTok if not sold within 45 days

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans and U.S. companies will be banned from making transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, in 45 days, according to a new executive order President Trump issued Thursday evening.

The big picture: Last week Trump announced his intention to ban TikTok but said he'd leave a 45-day period for Microsoft or other U.S.-based suitors to try to close a deal to acquire the popular video-sharing app.

The corporate victims of U.S.-China tensions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The travails of TikTok are the most visible example of how the rapidly deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and China can evaporate tens of billions of dollars of corporate value.

Why it matters: When corporations find themselves at the mercy of politicians flexing their geopolitical muscles, they generally end up ruing the encounter.

There's little consensus on TikTok's specific national security threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok has become a Rorschach test for how U.S. politicians view China, with little consensus on the specifics of its threat to homeland security.

The big picture: Much of what D.C. fears about TikTok is fear itself, and that's reflected in President Trump's executive order to ban the app by Sept. 20 if it's not sold by parent company ByteDance — alongside another focused on Chinese messaging app WeChat and its parent company Tencent.