U.S. President Donald Trump signed executive order Wednesday that effectively bans transactions using eight China-connected mobile apps.
The apps include Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's WeChat Pay payment platforms.
Trump said that the apps were capable of accessing the private information of American users. He said that the information could potentially be used by the China government to "track the locations" of Americans, including federal employees and contractors.
The executive order is slated to take effect in 45 days - after Trump leaves office. It is not clear if president-elect Joe Biden will retract the order. His transition team has declined to comment.
U.S. companies that do business with China previously protested against the passing of a similar executive order.
Companies such as Ford and Walmart said banning the apps would make it difficult for them to continue doing business with some of their suppliers and partners. Analysts said that the same companies could raise similar concerns about the new order.
A former U.S. trade official said that more businesses could step in to protest the new order. Groups could also step in as the apps are important in the lives of Americans living and doing business in China.
A Trump administration senior official said Tuesday the executive order was aimed at preventing China's government from using the apps as a "mass tool for global oppression." China has yet to comment.
Both WeChat Pay and Alipay are popular in China. The two apps are less popular in the U.S. and are used mostly by tourists and companies doing business with China. In China, WeChat Pay was downloaded more than 1.6 million times in 2020 compared to 207,000 times in the U.S. over the same period.