The US is reportedly considering adding Alibaba, Tencent to China’s share ban

The Trump administration is considering blacklisting Alibaba Group and Tencent of Chinese companies allegedly owned or controlled by the Chinese military, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The news came first reported According to the Wall Street Journal, the plan was still under discussion and may not be implemented as agencies debate its impact on markets.

Alibaba and Tencent shares fell around three percent in morning trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Alibaba’s US-listed shares closed on the news a little more than five percent on Wednesday, but remained roughly unchanged after close of trading.

Alibaba and Tencent did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump signed an ordinance banning transactions in eight Chinese software applications, including Ant Group’s Alipay mobile payment app, which heightened tensions with Beijing two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden took office.

The order, first reported by Reuters, tasked the trading department with determining which transactions should be banned under the policy, and also targets Tencent’s QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay.

The move aims to curb the threat to Americans from Chinese software applications, which have a large user base and access to sensitive data, a senior official told Reuters.

The contract signed by Trump also mentions CamScanner, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate and WPS Office. “The United States must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese networked software applications to protect our national security.”

A U.S. official told Reuters that although the order gave the Commerce Department 45 days to act, the department plans to act before January 20 if Trump leaves office to identify banned transactions.

Trump’s mandate states, “By accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers, China-related software applications can access and capture large amounts of information from users, including sensitive personal data and private information.”

It added that the data collection “would allow China to track the locations of federal employees and contractors and create dossiers of p

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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