President Donald Trump signed an order banning U.S. transactions with eight Chinese apps including Ant Group Co.’s Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s digital wallets, riling Beijing days before he’s slated to leave office.
The order is the outgoing administration’s latest bid to use national security powers against China’s largest companies, but it will be up to President-elect Joe Biden to decide whether to enforce the policy. It deals another blow to Ant co-founder Jack Ma, who hasn’t been seen in public since Chinese regulators halted Ant’s $35 billion IPO and launched an antitrust probe into Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
Trump’s 11th-hour move again threatens to snarl relations between the world’s two largest economies, which have clashed over everything from the pandemic to Hong Kong. The executive order, which directed the Commerce Department to draft rules outlining which payments and transactions will be outlawed, will hit Tencent’s QQ, QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay as well as lesser-known apps CamScanner, SHAREit, VMate and WPS Office. On Wednesday, China accused the U.S. of abusing its powers and being a bully. Its actions only harm American consumers, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.Bloomberg