Trump orders ban on WeChat Pay and other Chinese apps

The fate of the order now lies with Joe Biden who will be sworn in as the next president in two weeks

Stuti Mishra
Wednesday 06 January 2021 07:32 GMT
File image: Trump signs executive order to ban eight more Chinese apps
File image: Trump signs executive order to ban eight more Chinese apps (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Leer en Español

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


President Donald Trump ordered a ban on eight more Chinese apps, including WeChat Pay and Alipay, just two weeks before leaving the Oval Office.

The executive order signed by the president on Tuesday will take effect after 45 days, nearly a month after Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the next president, so the fate of Mr Trump's action is unclear.

Mr Trump had earlier imposed a ban on popular video app TikTok as well as the WeChat messenger in August, amid escalating tension between Beijing and Washington. The fate of these orders also lies with President-elect Biden now.

Mr Trump's order cites unspecified concerns about the apps allegedly collecting the personal and financial information of Americans and turning it over to China’s communist government.

Quoting a senior administration official, a report by Reuters news wire said 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.

The order also argues that the United States must take “aggressive action” against developers of Chinese software applications to protect national security.

Alipay is a widely used digital wallet that is part of the empire of e-commerce billionaire and Ant Group founder Jack Ma. WeChat Pay is a rival service operated by tech giant Tencent. The others named in the order are CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate and WPS Office.

The order marks the Trump administration’s latest attempt to hobble China, a rising economic superpower. Over the past several years, it has lashed out at China with tariffs that have sometimes roiled the US stock market, blocked mergers involving Chinese companies and stifled the business of Chinese firms like Huawei, a maker of phones and telecom equipment.

China-backed hackers, meanwhile, have been blamed for data breaches of US federal databases and the credit agency Equifax, and the Chinese government strictly limits what US tech companies can do in China.

Political analysts expect Mr Biden to try to resume cooperation with Beijing on issues such as climate change and the coronavirus. However, economists and political analysts foresee few big changes due to widespread frustration with Beijing’s trade and human rights record and accusations of spying and technology theft.

But dealing with the fallout from Mr Trump's latest shot at China could still create more headaches for Mr Biden on top of the ongoing efforts to fight a worsening pandemic after he takes office.

Additional reporting by agencies

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in