Popular Chinese Mobile Payment Apps Are Just the Tip of the Spear
In one of his last acts as president, Donald Trump issued an executive order banning eight Chinese software applications, including Alipay, the world’s largest mobile payment app. People in China, and increasingly in other countries, conduct all sorts of transactions over Alipay and WeChat Pay, another app banned by Trump’s order—everything from paying electricity bills to buying food from street vendors to splurging at high-end boutiques.
Trump’s ban, issued on January 5, sought to address concerns that these popular Chinese apps might allow Beijing access to sensitive data about Americans. But China’s emerging dominance in financial technology, also known as “fintech,” poses an even more fundamental problem for the United States. Washington cannot trust that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will harness its growing influence in financial markets for the benefit of all. More likely, Beijing will use fintech to occupy the high ground in global commerce, bolster its surveillance state, and lay the groundwork to challenge the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.