Days before Joe Biden’s inauguration, US president Donald Trump has signed an executive order prohibiting transactions with eight Chinese payment apps including Alipay and WeChat Pay.
The ban would also apply to CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, and WPS Office.
The executive order cited concerns about Chinese apps collecting personal and financial data of US citizens and turning it over to China’s communist government.
In a message to Congress, President Trump said the order that the “pace and pervasiveness” of the spread of Chinese software apps “continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy” of the US.
“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,” he said.
“This data collection threatens to provide the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — which would permit China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, and build dossiers of personal information.”
There is a clear intention on the Chinese side to use bulk data collection to advance its economic and national security agenda, Trump added.
Tencent and Ant refused to offer comment on the ban.
Commenting on the development, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “This is another example of the US’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.”
However, the fate of the order is unclear as it will take 45 days to come into force, after the incumbent president leaves office.