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Jan. 5, 2021, 6:54 p.m. EST

Trump signs order banning Alipay, WeChat Pay and other Chinese apps

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By Andrew Restuccia and John D. McKinnon

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese-connected apps, including the Alipay payment platform owned by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co.

The order also bans transactions with the WeChat Pay app owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 +0.90% , along with six other apps.

The order, which was signed on Tuesday, takes effect in 45 days, after Trump leaves office. It instructs Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to evaluate other apps that could pose a national security threat, and calls on the commerce secretary, the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to issue a report with recommendations to prevent the transfer of data from U.S. users to foreign adversaries.

Trump, in the order, said the apps can access private information from their users. That information could be used by the Chinese government to “track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, and build dossiers of personal information,” Trump said.

Alipay, a payment and lifestyle app with more than 1 billion users, is owned by Ant Group, the Chinese financial-technology giant controlled by Ma. An Ant representative had no immediate comment. A WeChat representative also had no immediate comment.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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