January 16, 2021
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Trump Signs Executive Order Aiming To Ban Alipay, Other Chinese Apps

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Topline

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday effectively banning Ant Group’s Alipay, WeChat Pay, Tencent QQ and other popular Chinese apps in the U.S., ratcheting up tensions with China as the White House continues to take action against Chinese tech companies.

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A customer makes a payment using a Wechat QR payment code (C) via her smartphone, next to an Alipay … [+] QR code (L), at a vegetable market in Beijing on November 3, 2020.

Photo by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

The order prohibits transactions with Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office.

In a statement, the White House said these apps pose a national security threat because they could be forced to hand over data on American users to the Chinese government.

It’s unclear if these bans will actually go into effect, considering courts have either blocked or delayed similar bans, which used the same rationale, against TikTok and WeChat last year.

Key Background

The executive order is part of a broader effort from the Trump administration for a “clean network,” which aims to purge Chinese companies from U.S. internet and telecommunications infrastructure. U.S. officials and lawmakers from both parties warn that Chinese companies could be forced to hand over data on U.S. citizens to the Chinese government. But Trump in particular has spent much of his time in office advocating for tough-on-China trade policies, while Democrats warn these types of executive orders are haphazard.

What To Watch For

The order goes into effect in 45 days, which will be after Trump leaves office. It’s unclear if Biden will stop the order from being implemented.