US President Donald Trump has banned eight new Chinese apps, including Ant Group’s Alipay app.
The president signed an executive order banning transactions with Alipay, QQ Wallet, WeChat PayTencent QQ, CamScanner, SHAREit, VMate and WPS Office.
The Chinese software applications have been banned on the grounds that they “continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States” according to the executive order.
“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,” it continued. The order also warned that such applications could permit China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors.
The executive order says that the ban will apply to “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with persons that develop or control the following Chinese connected software applications, or with their subsidiaries, as those transactions and persons are identified by the Secretary of Commerce”.
The executive order will come into force in 45 days, after President-elect Joe Biden is due to come into office, with his inauguration taking place on 20 January. It remains to be seen whether Biden will revoke the order.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said:
“This is another example of the U.S.’s bullying, arbitrary and hegemonic behaviour. This is an example of the United States over-generalizing the concept of national security and abusing its national power to unreasonably suppress foreign companies.”
This is the latest attempt by the Trump administration to crack down on Chinese applications on national security grounds, with companies such as TikTok, Huawei and WeChat all the subject of executive orders.
At the end of last month, the New York Stock Exchange announced plans to delist China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, before making a u-turn and scrapping plans this week.