US President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order, banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications, including Ant Group’s Alipay, a payment platform owned by Jack Ma, and WeChat Pay, owned by Tencent. The decision comes just two weeks before Trump ends his term.
The executive order, which toughens the already harsh stance of the US administration on China, is expected to further rile Beijing. The order bars any transactions with “persons that develop or control” the apps of Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office and their subsidiaries after a period of 45 days as they threaten American national security. The move is aimed at curbing the threat to Americans posed by Chinese software applications, which have large user bases and access to sensitive data, a senior official told Reuters. Previously, the Trump administration has even considered banning popular short video streaming platform TikTok over “national security” concerns. US-China trade tensions have roiled financial markets since they began.
However, the Trump administration launched a broadside against China on all fronts, including trade, Tibet and Taiwan besides, scathing criticism against the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) headed by President Xi Jinping. With Biden stepping in as the new president, China now hopes to restore ties and restart cooperation.