President Trump has signed a new executive order prohibiting transactions with the companies behind eight Chinese apps, including Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s QQ and WeChat Pay. Transactions will be prohibited in 45 days. Reuters was the first to report the news.
The full list of apps includes: 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… continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” the order reads.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed that the Commerce Department will “begin implementing the E.O.’s directives, including identifying prohibited transactions.” Reuters reports that the Commerce Department will do so before Trump leaves office on January 20th, citing an unnamed official.
The new orders follow two earlier ones from August that already tried to ban transactions with ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, and WeChat. However, a judge blocked the WeChat ban in September and again in October, while a judge granted a preliminary injunction stopping the TikTok ban in December.
If the US is successful in banning these apps, it could be a pretty big deal, particularly for Chinese American families who use these apps to communicate online.
Update January 5th, 7:29PM ET: Added quote from the order.