U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban transactions with eight Chinese software applications.
These include Alipay mobile payment app, owned by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group, and Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay, among others.
The order calls for the United States to take aggressive action against developers of Chinese software apps. As per the order, these applications, which have higher number of downloads and access to sensitive data, are targeted to protect national security.
According to an administration official, these apps could route user information to Chinese government and pose threat to Americans.
The order states, “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.”
Image scanning app CamScanner, SHAREit, office suite app WPS Office and VMate, which is published by Alibaba Group subsidiary UCWeb, are also affected by the possible ban.
As per the order, the Commerce Department will review and assess which transactions to be banned within 45-day time line.
Meanwhile, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reportedly told that China will take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights of these companies.
Trump in August had signed executive orders directing Commerce department to block some U.S. transactions with WeChat and the Chinese-owned video app TikTok. However, those restrictions were blocked by courts mainly citing freedom of speech.
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