The Trump administration has fired a parting broadside at China’s tech sector by placing a ban on transactions with eight Chinese apps, including digital payments giants Alipay and WeChat Pay.
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to ban transactions with Alipay, Tencent’s QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay, as well as CamScanner, SHAREit, VMate and WPS Office.
“The United States must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese connected software applications to protect our national security,” said the order signed by Trump on 5 January.
“By accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers, Chinese connected software applications can access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information.”
The order also expressed concern that the collection of data “would permit China to track the locations of federal employees and contractors, and build dossiers of personal information.”
While the order provides the Commerce Department with 45 days to implement the ban, a government source said to Reuters that it will likely act upon the order prior to Trump’s scheduled departure from office on 20 January.
The Trump administration has stepped up its targeting of Chinese Internet giants since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the issuance of an executive order in August 2020 seeking to bar transactions with Tencent’s WeChat and ByteDance’s TikTok.