Trump Issues Ban on Chinese Payment Apps

The president’s executive order said the "pace and pervasiveness" of Chinese technology was a threat to American national security.
Lauren MuskettJanuary 6, 2021

U.S. President Donald Trump has issued an executive order prohibiting transactions that use the popular Chinese payment app Alipay. Trump said the “pace and pervasiveness” of Chinese technology presented a continuing threat to the U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economy.

“The United States must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese connected software applications to protect our national security,” the executive order said.

The order also bans transactions involving “persons that develop or control” the apps WeChat, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, CamScanner, Tencent QQ, VMate, and WPS Office.

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The order takes effect in 45 days. President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20. It is unclear how the Biden administration will interpret or enforce the ban.

“The United States has assessed that a number of Chinese connected software applications automatically capture vast swathes of information from millions of users in the United States, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information,” the order said.

The U.S. has accused China of involvement in a number of attacks in recent years, including a 2015 malware attack against the office of personnel management that exposed the data of millions of government employees, job applicants, and former employees.

The Alipay ban comes as the New York Stock Exchange announced a series of reversals around its decision to delist China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom following an executive order issued by President Trump in November.

The NYSE last week announced it would delist the companies before reversing that decision on Monday following pushback from the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission. As of Wednesday, the exchange said it would ban trading in the stocks, citing new guidance from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Alipay is a sister company of Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. Ma, reportedly, has not been seen in public since October, when he publicly clashed with Chinese regulators over his plans to publicly list shares of Ant Group.