Trump bans Alipay and seven other Chinese apps
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications, including Ant Group’s Alipay mobile payments app, the White House said that heightened tensions with Beijing two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden took office..
The move, first reported by Reuters, aims to contain the threat to Americans posed by Chinese software applications that have large user bases and access to sensitive data, a senior administration official told Reuters..
The decree states that the United States should take «aggressive actions» against the developers of Chinese software applications to protect national security.
The decree instructs the Department of Commerce to determine which transactions will be prohibited under the directive within 45 days, and it also aims to restrict the use of QQ wallets and WeChat Pay from Tencent Holdings Ltd.
The decree also mentions CamScanner, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, which is owned by Alibaba Group subsidiary UCWeb, and WPS Office Beijing Kingsoft Office Software.
«By accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers, Chinese software applications can access and collect vast amounts of information from users, including sensitive personal information and private information.», – stated in the decree.
«Continuing activities» China and the ruling Chinese Communist Party «stealing or otherwise obtaining data from United States citizens makes it clear that there is intent to use massive data collection to advance China’s economic and national security agenda», – it says in the decree.
Such data collection «will enable China to track the location of federal employees and contractors and create dossiers of personal information», – stated in the document.
China reacted immediately, saying it would take the necessary steps to protect the legitimate rights of companies, subject to the ruling Donald trump (Donald Trump), Foreign Office spokeswoman said in a regular briefing on Wednesday Hua chuning (Hua Chunying), adding that the US is abusing its power and unreasonably suppressing foreign companies.
Kingsoft said in a statement released by Chinese state media that it does not expect Trump’s order to significantly affect the company’s business in the short term. Ant, Biden’s transition group and SHAREit declined to comment.
Alibaba, Tencent, CamScanner and the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The decree is intended to cement Trump’s tough attitude towards China before his inauguration on 20 January. Biden, a Democrat who said little about how he plans to deal with specific technical threats from China.
«The Trump administration is still rushing with its punishment list to restrict U.S.-China relations in hopes of spurring China to retaliate, further deteriorate relations, and tie Biden’s hands», – said Scott kennedy (Scott Kennedy), Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
He said that although the restrictions for these applications should be «very destructive», it remains to be seen if they will actually be implemented.
Joe biden (Joe Biden), however, can reverse the decree on the very first day of his presidency.
The order is likely to further exacerbate tensions between Washington and Beijing, which have already multiplied amid fierce discussions about the origins of the coronavirus and China’s crackdown in Hong Kong..
Despite the decree’s 45-day deadline, the Commerce Department plans to take action by January 20 to identify prohibited transactions, another U.S. official told Reuters..
The directive reflects Trump’s executive orders signed in August directing the Commerce Department to block certain U.S. transactions with WeChat and the China-owned video app TikTok..
If these decrees went into effect, they would effectively ban the use of Chinese apps in the United States and ban Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc.’s app stores. offer them for download to new users.
However, these restrictions were blocked by the courts mainly on the basis of freedom of speech. The White House is confident the new restrictions will go to court as apps like Alipay will not be able to file a First Amendment case, a senior administration official told Reuters..
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur ross (Wilbur Ross) said it supports «Trump’s commitment to protecting the privacy and safety of Americans from threats from the Chinese Communist Party».
Alipay has been in Washington’s radar for months.
In November, Reuters reported that the US State Department had proposed adding Ant Group to a blacklist to deter US investors from participating in the company’s lucrative initial public offering. But the Commerce Department, which oversees the blacklist, has postponed the proposal after the president of Alibaba Group Holding Inc. Michael evans (Michael Evans) urged Ross to reject him.
Ant is a leading mobile payments company in China offering loans, payments, insurance and asset management services via mobile apps. It is 33% owned by Alibaba and controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, but it is currently not available to American users..
Alibaba is now facing a Chinese antitrust investigation, while its financial subsidiary Ant Group has been ordered by regulators to reorganize its core businesses. Meanwhile, her co-founder Jack ma (Jack Ma) disappeared from the public eye.
According to research firm SensorTower, Alipay was downloaded 207,000 times from Apple’s U.S. app store and Google Play in 2020, while CamScanner image scanning app and WPS Office suite were downloaded 4.4 million and 563,000 times. respectively.
In November, the White House issued an executive order banning U.S. investments in alleged Chinese military companies, including China’s largest chip maker SMIC and oil giant CNOOC. Last month, the Department of Commerce added dozens of Chinese companies, including Chinese drone maker SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd, to the trade blacklist..
Trump also recently signed into law new rules for foreign issuers that would allow Chinese companies to be delisted from U.S. stock exchanges if they fail to meet U.S. auditing standards..