President Donald Trump has announced yesterday that he has signed a new executive order banning transactions with the companies behind eight Chinese apps. The apps include Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office.
“…the pace and pervasiveness of the spread in the United States of certain connected mobile and desktop applications and other software developed or controlled by persons in the People’s Republic of China, to include Hong Kong and Macau (China), continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” said Trump.
Transactions will be prohibited 45 days after the executive order—which would be starting 19 February 2021. The executive order was also made while Trump has less than a month left in office.
The apps affected are popular in China, but aren’t as popular in the U.S., so a majority of Americans won’t be too affected by the ban. However, the order aims to cement Trump’s “tough-on-China” legacy.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden could potentially revoke the order on the first day of his presidency. But Reuters reported that his transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.
Beijing Kingsoft Office Software—the company responsible for the app WPS Office—said in a statement published by Chinese state media that it did not expect Trump’s order to substantially impact the company’s business in the short term. Alibaba, Tencent, CamScanner, SHAREit and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.
Previously in August, Trump had tried to ban transactions with TikTok’s parent company Bytedance and WeChat. However, a judge blocked the WeChat ban twice last year, while a judge stopped Trump from banning TikTok in December.
Alipay, one of the most popular apps aimed for the ban, is under Ant Group—owned by Jack Ma. Ma has been reported missing for at least two months, which coincides with him coming under increased pressure from Chinese regulators over the dealings of Alibaba and Ant Group.