Trump bans Chinese payment apps

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US president has signed an executive order banning the use of eight Chinese payment apps, including Alipay and WeChat Pay.

As Donald Trump is dragged kicking and screaming from the White House, he signed his latest order – set to become law in 45 days – which cites the Chinese apps as a threat to US national security.

The executive order said: “The US must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese-connected software applications to protect our national security.”

It said that by accessing personal devices such as smartphones, “Chinese-connected software applications can access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information”.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said the ban goes against fair competition.

The executive order could be quashed in the coming days when president elect Joe Biden takes office.

In August, Trump signed two executive orders banning Chinese video-sharing apps TikTok and WeChat, stating that “additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency” relating to the ICT and services supply chain.

The orders took effect on 20 September 2020 and banned “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the US” with either TikTok parent ByteDance or WeChat parent Tencent.

The order against TikTok said: “The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States. At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile application in particular, TikTok.”

Early in his presidency, Trump used executive orders against IT services companies overseas by reducing their ability to send staff to the US to work. This was part of his America First rhetoric.

Trump’s executive order said US government agencies should look at ways to reduce the number of immigrant workers in the country, including reducing the use of H-1B visas. It was part of an election campaign promise to encourage employers to hire more US citizens.

It had an impact on IT services, with providers and their enterprise customers in the US holding back from investing in services offshore as well as pausing hiring at their own operations in India.

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