US President Trump signed an Executive Order to ban the following eight Chinese apps, as well as their subsidiaries, yesterday (January 5):
- WeChat Pay
- QQ Wallet
- WPS Office
The order will take effect in 45 days and comes as Trump has just 14 days left in office with Biden’s inauguration taking place on January 20.
“The United States must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese connected software applications to protect our national security. 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.”An extract from the Executive Order
In response, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said that: “the order is another example of American bullying and hegemonic behavior, which has overextended the concept of national security, abused national power, and unreasonably suppressed foreign companies. It harms others without benefiting itself”.
Hua Chunying also criticised the double standards of the US championing a free-market economy and fair competition while failing to comply with these values with respect to China. She stated that China will take necessary measures to safeguard the interests of Chinese companies. Many netizens agreed with Hua Chunying’s opinions.
Two Executive Orders banning WeChat and TikTok were signed in August 2020 but have so far been unsuccessful after being challenged in courts. Several leading commentators have predicted that little will come of the Order which will either be overturned by the courts or halted by Biden’s administration.
Read more about the earlier WeChat and TikTok ban: Should US brands be worried about the ban of WeChat and TikTok?