What are the 8 new Chinese applications in Trump’s sights?
On a crusade against Chinese Tech. With 15 days from the end of his mandate, US President Donald Trump is attacking eight applications made in China on behalf of the “National security”. The tenant of the White House signed a decree on Tuesday to ban any transaction with these applications within 45 days, ” by anyone under the jurisdiction of the United States ”. This is a new front in the technological rivalry with China, whose innovative apps now have global ambitions.
Beijing closely monitors the internet and blocks sites deemed politically sensitive. This system, nicknamed “The Great Computer Wall”, has enabled it to bring out digital champions in the absence of American competitors (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) blocked on its territory. While some of the eight apps targeted are popular overseas, others are mainly used by the Chinese.
WeChat Pay, as easy as a scan
It is an essential payment service in China and which has completely outdated cash. This electronic wallet is integrated into WeChat (Tencent group), the messaging system most used by the Chinese. Even in the most remote corners, in the markets to pay small sums or even to do the bag, the Chinese go through WeChat Pay. Transactions are carried out by scanning a QR code with your phone, but it is also possible to transfer money to your contacts. WeChat has no less than 1.2 billion active users. Mostly Chinese, even if the application is available in about twenty languages.
QQ, the Chinese MSN and its QQ Wallet
Like WeChat, QQ is owned by giant Tencent. Launched in 1999, this app was the first successful computer-based messaging in the country. The software was strongly inspired by MSN Messenger from the American Microsoft. QQ is in a way the ancestor of WeChat, which was later developed specifically for smartphones. QQ, which also has an email service, has since adapted to the mobile era (video calls, QQ Wallet payment platform). The application remains popular in China for professional purposes. The app claims more than 768 million active users, the vast majority of whom are Chinese.
Alipay, stronger than PayPal
Alipay, owned by e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba founded by billionaire Jack Ma, is the world’s largest payment platform. Like WeChat Pay, its main competitor in China, Alipay allows purchases to be made via a mobile application using QR codes. Present in more than 80 million stores, this system is used each month by more than 700 million people, according to the figures of the company. Alipay claims an annual volume of transactions exceeding 118,000 billion yuan (14,400 billion euros), five times more than the American giant PayPal.
CamScanner, digitization specialist
Scan documents using your phone, convert photo elements into text, or “clean” scanned documents to turn them into high-resolution files. CamScanner offers a series of scanning tools and solutions for file storage and sharing. Some features are chargeable. CamScanner is developed by the Chinese INTSIG, specialized in recognition technologies (facial, voice and identity documents), which claims more than 300 million users around the world. In 2019, Russian computer anti-virus publisher Kaspersky found malware in CamScanner. And India banned the app last year in the name of security, along with more than 200 other Chinese apps.
VMate, TikTok clone
Dances or songs in playback, filmed challenges: the application allows, like TikTok which conquered teenagers around the world before also being in the American viewfinder, to create and share short videos. Launched in 2017 with the support of Alibaba, targeting the huge Indian market. VMate, very popular in India, is now also on the list of Chinese apps banned in the country.
SHAREit, limitless sharing
Movies, photos, music or even text documents… SHAREit is a content sharing app that accepts all types and sizes of files. It allows large files to be transferred quickly to any type of device (smartphones or computers) without going through an internet connection and while maintaining the original quality. SHAREit, available in 45 languages, claims 1.8 billion users worldwide.
WPS Office, alternative to Microsoft
It is the Chinese alternative to popular Microsoft office software (Word, Excel, etc.). Founded in 1989, the company of some 2,000 employees boasts more than one billion users worldwide and has subsidiaries in the United States and Singapore.