WeChat Pay, Alipay banned along with other mobile payment apps
Outgoing US President Donald Trump banned transactions on eight Chinese apps. Trump signed an executive order today again ratcheting up pressure on China.
“The United States must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese connected software applications to protect our national security,” Trump’s executive order said. “At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by these Chinese connected software applications” says the order.
The executive order cited security concerns. Data shared with Beijing or stored in mainland China could allow tracking of American citizens including government officials and federal employees.
“By accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, Chinese connected software applications can access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information.”
The order goes into effect in 45 days.
This is the third round of executive orders targeting Chinese apps. In August 2019, Trump signed an executive order banning Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat. TikTok sued the Trump administration to fight the ban. Trump wanted to force a sale of the apps. TikTok partnered with American technology company Oracle to avoid a shutdown. However, the ban was blocked by a Federal judge with a preliminary injunction.
Chinese Apps Banned for US Citizens
- QQ Wallet
- Tencent QQ
- WeChat Pay
- WPS Office and their subsidiaries
Alipay is a payment platform owned by Ant Group. WeChat Pay is owned by Tencent.
Last month, India approved WeChat Pay for use as a mobile payment app. A roll out to a test group of two-million Indian citizens was approved after a beta trial.
Trump’s latest executive order may have little real effect on US citizens, if any. Alipay requires users to have a mainland China bank account and phone number. WeChat Pay also requires a mainland China based bank to use the payment platform.
“The United States has assessed that a number of Chinese connected software applications automatically capture vast swaths of information from millions of users in the United States, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information,” the executive order read.