US President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Tuesday banning the use of financial transactions with eight Chinese apps, including Alipay, the world’s largest online payment platform.
The Trump administration’s latest ban on Americans accessing Chinese tech products includes Alipay, the most widely used online payment platform on the planet, with more than one billion users. The company is owned by Ant Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group that was founded by Alibaba’s founder, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.
According to Reuters, the order also targets Tencent’s WeChat, Alipay’s principal rival, which Trump also tried to ban Americans from accessing last year after the Justice Department argued the app was a threat to US national security, and QQ Wallet, a similar app also owned by Tencent. However, federal courts blocked his immediate banning of WeChat in October. Tencent has rejected the DoJ’s accusations, claiming it “incorporates the highest standards of user privacy and data security.”
The Tuesday order tasks the US Department of Commerce with deciding which transactions will be banned.
On the other side of the Pacific, things are looking a little better for Ma. Alibaba’s share value declined precipitously after Beijing announced an antitrust probe of Alibaba in December and the month prior, Ant Group’s scheduled initial public offering was suddenly scuttled after Chinese President Xi Jinping had regulators probe the deal.
Trump has blacklisted hundreds of Chinese companies in various ways over the last few years, claiming their connections to the Communist Party of China or the Chinese government have rendered them insecure. These have included some of the world’s largest tech companies, including Huawei, China Mobile, and China Telecom. Chinese authorities and corporate figures alike have rejected the US’ claims.
However, like the WeChat ban, some of Trump’s moves have met pushback in the US, including an attempt to force the New York Stock Exchange to delist Chinese telecom giants. Earlier on Tuesday, NYSE announced it had reversed the ban on some of the firms and would continue to allow trading of China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile stocks.