New Delhi: As Alibaba founder Jack Ma was found to be maintaining a low profile, tech companies in China have played an important role in convincing global investors that they operated independently from the Communist Party, said a report.Also Read - European Union Wants 'Verifiable Proof' of Tennis Player Peng Shuai's Safety | Tennis News

According to the Bloomberg report, Chinese companies from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to Tencent Holdings Ltd. spent billions competing with Western rivals and developing apps and technologies. But China’s pursuit of Ma and his Ant Group Co. after he criticized regulators arguably plays directly into the hands of China’s biggest critics in Washington, who have long asserted that no Chinese tech giant or entrepreneur is beyond the reach of Xi Jinping. Also Read - China Could Record Over 6.3 Lakh Daily COVID Cases If....., Warns Study

Now, in a major blow to two of the companies whose shares are most widely held by global investors, the US is planning on banning investments in Alibaba and Tencent, said sources. Earlier on Tuesday, President Donald Trump even signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications including Ant’s Alipay, and Tencent’s WeChat Pay, citing concerns that Beijing will have access to the data collected by the platforms. “I stand with President Trump’s commitment to protecting the privacy and security of Americans from threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement on the order. Also Read - New Covid Variant Threat: India Extends Travel Restrictions to THESE Countries. Full List Here

Beijing’s moves could raise pressure on the incoming Joe Biden administration to push through further action detrimental to China, though it’s not clear how much of Trump’s aggressive policies the president-elect will continue.

China’s government on Wednesday accused Washington of misusing national security as an excuse to hurt commercial competitors after President Donald Trump signed an order banning transactions with payment services Alipay and WeChat Pay and six other apps.

However, President Trump’s order was highly criticised by China’s government as it accused Washington of misusing national security as an excuse to hurt commercial competitors after President Donald Trump signed an order banning transactions with payment services Alipay and WeChat Pay and six other apps.

The order escalated a conflict with Beijing over technology, security and spying accusations that has plunged U.S.-Chinese relations to their lowest level in decades. It followed confusion in financial markets after the New York Stock Exchange announced last week it would remove three Chinese phone companies and then withdrew that plan Monday.

This is another example of the U.S.’s bullying, arbitrary and hegemonic behaviour, said a foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying.

This is an example of the United States over-generalizing the concept of national security and abusing its national power to unreasonably suppress foreign companies.

Beijing will take unspecified necessary measures to protect Chinese companies, Hua said, repeating a government statement made following previous U.S. sanctions announcements. It rarely has been followed by action.

Trump’s order cites unspecified concerns about apps collecting Americans’ personal and financial data and turning it over to China’s communist government.

Hua ridiculed that argument, pointing to U.S. government intelligence gathering.

This is like a gangster who wantonly steals but then clamors to be protected from robbery, Hua said. How hypocritical and ridiculous it is. Chinese smartphone apps face similar opposition in neighboring India, which has blocked dozens of them on security grounds amid a military standoff over a disputed section of border between the two countries.

Trump in August issued orders banning dealings with the popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok and the WeChat messaging app.

Those and this week’s order take effect after President-elect Joe Biden is due to be sworn in January 20, leaving open the question of whether the government will go ahead with it.

A representative for Biden’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Alipay is part of the empire of billionaire Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and financial platform Ant Group. WeChat Pay is operated by rival tech giant Tencent. The others named in the order are CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate and WPS Office.

The Trump administration also has imposed curbs on access to U.S. technology for Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei and some other companies. A November order bans American investors from buying securities issued by companies deemed to be linked to China’s military.

U.S. tech companies worry Beijing might retaliate by making it more difficult to do business in the world’s second-largest economy.

Political analysts expect Biden to try to resume cooperation with Beijing on issues such as climate change and the coronavirus. But few expect big changes due to widespread frustration with Beijing’s trade and human rights record and accusations of spying and technology theft.

Trump administration officials indicated they hadn’t consulted with the president-elect’s team before the latest order.

(With Agency Inputs)