U.S. President Donald Trump signed a new executive order Tuesday targeting two apps owned by Tencent Holdings and several other Chinese owned apps. The new executive order dated Jan. 5, cites the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the National Emergencies Act, and section 301 of title 3, United States Code. The apps named in the executive order are mostly mobile online payment platforms including WeChat Pay, Tencent QQ, Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, VMate, and WPS Office.
The EO prohibits after 45 days from the date of the order “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with persons that develop or control the following Chinese connected software applications, or with their subsidiaries, as those transactions and persons are identified by the Secretary of Commerce.”
It is unclear why Trump signed this executive order, as President-Elect Joe Biden will officially be sworn in as President on Jan. 20, and will likely not continue to support this and other previously issued executive orders.
The Trump administration hasn’t had much success in banning Chinese apps in 2020; several Federal courts have granted WeChat and TikTok preliminary injunctions against bans in the U.S.
Tencent has deep ties in the entertainment, esports, and gaming industries. It owns Valorant and League of Legends developer Riot Games, holds a large stake in Fortnite maker Epic Games (which owns Rocket League maker Psyonix), and has minor investments in companies such as PUBG owner Krafton Inc., Call of Duty League and Overwatch League owner Activision Blizzard, and Rainbow Six Siege maker Ubisoft.
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