Outgoing US president Donald Trump has signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese-connected apps, including Alipay.
The list also includes apps QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay, which are owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Trump argued that the apps on the list could enable the Chinese government to access private information from their users and be used to “track the location of federal employees and contractors”.
The order is set to come into effect by mid-February at which time Trump is supposed to have vacated the White House after massively losing the election in November.
President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team did not comment on whether it would enforce the order or not.
The executive order is another setback for Jack MA, the Alibaba founder who also owns Alipay.
Last year, his company Ant Financial was set to go public in what was expected to be the biggest FinTech listing ever.
However, in November FinTech Global reported that Chinese regulators had halted the IPO.
The news comes as Ma has reportedly not been seen in public for several months. His last public appearance appears to have been at a livestreamed event on 31 October.
His disappearance from the public eye comes after he delivered a blunt speech alongside senior officials, criticising national regulators, reportedly infuriating China’s president Xi Jinping, The Guardian reported.
The speech could’ve been the trigger that caused the IPO preparations to grind to a halt.
Chinese regulators later launched the anti-monopoly investigations against Alibaba and its key competitor Tencent.
Nevertheless, experts are cautious about drawing any conclusions as to where Ma is, saying that he could just be laying low while his company is being investigated.
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