Outgoing US president Donald Trump has signed an executive order banning transactions with ten Chinese apps, including behemoths Alipay and WeChat Pay.
The move is a blow to the aspiration of Ant Group and Tencent which have invested billions on exporting their technology across the globe.
The Trump White House, which has been enaged in an aggressive pushback against Chinese firms operating on US soil, cites national security threats as the primary motivating factor.
“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 executive order states, adding that the apps could be used to track track and build dossiers on US federal employees.
“The United States must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese connected software applications to protect our national security,” the order says.
The document tasks the Commerce Department with defining which transactions will be banned under the directive within 45 days.
The incoming Biden administration, which has yet to comment on Trump’s actions, could quash the bill within days of entering office.