Nobody knows what Trump's executive order on WeChat means — and it's making US business leaders worried

aholmes@businessinsider.com (Aaron Holmes)
·2 mins read
<p class="copyright">Reuters</p>
  • US business leaders are desperately seeking clarity on Donald Trump's executive order that could ban transactions on WeChat, a Chinese payment and messaging app used by 1.2 billion people worldwide.

  • More than a dozen companies including Apple, Ford, Walmart, and Disney voiced concerns about how the executive order could affect their businesses in a call with the White House on Tuesday, WSJ reported.

  • The executive order bans US entities from "any transaction that is related to WeChat," which businesses worry could obliterate their ability to do business in China.

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Over a dozen companies including Apple, Disney, Ford, Walmart, and Intel reportedly voiced concerns about President Donald Trump's sweeping WeChat ban and sought clarity during a call with White House officials on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Trump signed executive orders last week banning any "any transactions" by American entities with two Chinese companies: TikTok's parent company ByteDance and WeChat's parent company Tencent Holdings. The order is set to take effect in late September.

US businesses are worried in particular about the WeChat ban, which could devastate their ability to compete in the Chinese market. WeChat is a messaging and ecommerce app used by over 1.2 billion people worldwide, and it's used widely in China for mobile payments, shopping, and social networking.

Without the ability to advertise and conduct business on WeChat, US businesses worry, they'll be essentially unable to compete in China and could be edged out of one of the world's biggest markets. American companies including Visa, Mastercard, and Starbucks have direct partnerships with WeChat to use its payments platform in China.

Some analysts remain optimistic that the executive order won't meaningfully affect US businesses. 

"We continue to believe in this game of high stakes poker that this remains a contained risk at this point," Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives said in a note on Friday. 

A White House spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider that the administration is "committed to protecting the American people from all cyber related threats to critical infrastructure, public health and safety, and our economic and national security."

Trump's Secretary of Commerce will clarify which entities are subject to the order by September, per the executive order.

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