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Trump orders transactions ban on WeChat, stoking tension with Beijing

Beijing, China: U.S. President Donald Trump has unveiled a sweeping ban on U.S. transactions with the Chinese messaging app giant WeChat, escalating a high-stakes confrontation with Beijing over the future of the global tech industry.

The executive orders announced Thursday and effective in 45 days come after the Trump administration this week flagged increased effort to purge "untrusted" Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks, calling Tencent Holdings Ltd's WeChat and Bytedance's popular TikTok "significant threats.

"The ban on U.S. transactions with Tencent, one of the world's biggest internet companies, portends further fracturing of the global internet and severing of long-standing ties between the tech industries in the United States and China.
WeChat has been downloaded a relatively small 19 million times in the United States, according to data from Sensor Tower. In China, however, the app is ubiquitous as a medium for services as varied as games and payment. It is also a common platform to communicate with individuals and businesses outside of China.

Trump's order sent Asian stock markets lower on Friday (August 7), with Tencent shares falling as far as 10.1% before recouping some of its losses in afternoon trade.

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