Pro-TikTok ads cite company using Chinese tech company Huawei in its own advertising blitz


TikTok and Huawei are using statistics compiled by Oxford Economics in campaigns to address national security concerns

(REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

Pro-TikTok ads cite statistics from a company that recruited Chinese tech company Huawei for its own advertising push, photos reviewed by the organization Washington Free Beacon show.

TikTok advertisements touting the company's economic performance, seen at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, claim that TikTok “contributed $24.” [billion] This will impact the US economy in 2023 alone.

Both Huawei and TikTok are classified as national security threats by the US government. The latter is waging a multi-pronged public opinion campaign to pressure Congress to abandon a bill that would restrict its operations in America unless its Chinese owner ByteDance divests from the company.

Communist-controlled media and CCP government organs have used Oxford Economics' research to discredit attempts by Western governments, including the United States, to regulate Huawei's access to their technology infrastructure. The company's research helps Huawei and TikTok shape public opinion and address growing concerns. The tech giants are helping the communist government collect personal data from scores of Westerners, experts say.

“Oxford Economics has repeatedly produced reports that Chinese state media then use for their own geopolitical ambitions,” said Michael Sobolik, China expert at the American Foreign Policy Council Free beacon. “They did that with Huawei in 2019 and 2020, and today they’re doing it again with TikTok. Washington should view TikTok’s PR campaign with healthy skepticism.”

Oxford Economics entered into a relationship with TikTok in 2023 when the social media company worked with it on an economic impact assessment related to its presence in the United States. These findings, created “in collaboration with TikTok,” were released in March and appear to anchor the current PR campaign aimed at blunting growing opposition to the social media company.

A January 2024 Oxford Economics study “commissioned by TikTok” examined the socio-economic impact of the app on five European countries.

A spokesperson for Oxford Economics confirmed that TikTok had commissioned the company to produce a report that quantifies “the economic impact of the use of TikTok by small businesses in the United States.” The spokesman did not want to provide further details. TikTok did not respond to one Free beacon Please comment on the nature of your relationship with Oxford Economics.

The data analytics company's work with Huawei dates back to at least 2019, when it was commissioned by the Chinese tech giant to “assess the economic costs of restricting competition in eight markets.”

The study came as several countries, including the United States, restricted Huawei's access to their main online networks, saying the communist government was using the company's technology for espionage operations.

The 2019 report was later cited by Chinese-controlled media and other propaganda outlets to push back on Western concerns about Huawei. This included a reference to the Oxford Economics study in a report by the China-US Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), a suspected CCP front group operating in the United States. The study was also promoted in Xinhua, a CCP state media outlet China Dailyanother propaganda medium.

In 2021, Chinese propaganda outlet Global times referred to a report by Oxford Economics on the economic impact of the United States breaking off economic ties with China.

Sobolik said the TikTok advertising campaign uses similar tactics to those conducted by Huawei in 2019 and later.

“TikTok is the Chinese Communist Party's most powerful tool to weaken American democracy, so it's no surprise that Beijing is doing everything in its power to maintain control of the app,” said Sobilik, author of Taking action against China's big gamee. “Still, TikTok doesn’t cover its tracks well.”