The “continuing activity” of China and the ruling Chinese Communist Party “to steal or otherwise obtain United States persons’ data makes clear that there is an intent to use bulk data collection to advance China’s economic and national security agenda,” the order reads in part.
It’s not at all clear how effective this order will be. It is set to take effect 45 days from now, well after Trump leaves office.
“The Trump administration is still rushing through its list of penalties to restrict the US-China relationship in hope of inducing China into retaliating, further worsening ties, and tying [President-elect Joe] Biden’s hands,” said Scott Kennedy, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
He said that, while the restrictions on these apps are meant to be “highly disruptive,” it remains to be seen whether they will actually be implemented.
“The Biden administration will likely review this and every other measure Trump has enacted through executive action,” he said. However, he added that if the order does take effect, “it could hamstring US companies in China who sell their products and services over these platforms.”
“Expect plenty of industry pushback,” Kennedy added.
The Trump administration has been ratcheting up its pressure on Chinese firms in the weeks before Biden takes office.
Tensions with the United States could also compound problems that companies like Alibaba are already dealing with at home.