US President Donald Trump has ordered a ban on Alipay, WeChat Pay and other apps linked to Chinese companies, saying they could route user information to the Government in Beijing.
Channels TV reports that the executive order is to take effect in 45 days, weeks after President Trump is replaced in the White House by President-elect Joe Biden.
A senior administration official said the order and its implementation has not been discussed with the “potential incoming Biden administration.”
The move by President Trump comes after previous executive orders aimed at banning TikTok, which is owned by China-based ByteDance, were derailed by court rulings indicating that the outgoing President overstepped his legal authority.
According to the administration official, the apps targeted by the new ban were chosen because of the extremely high number of downloads, which meant tens of millions of users could be at risk of having their data harnessed.
The official said: “We are trying to articulate to the world and take steps to stop the encroachment of China’s big data strategy, photos, text messages, phone calls to parents, from being fed into this mass tool for global oppression.”
President Trump’s order calls for the Secretary of Commerce to review and assess what further apps should be included in the ban.
It specifically named Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay and WPS Office.