On September 18, 2020, the United States Department of Commerce announced prohibitions on certain transactions relating to the mobile application (“app”) WeChat that were slated to take effect on September 20, 2020.1 These prohibitions would ban new downloads of the app by consumers in the United States and effectively disable the functionality of the app for existing US users, including by preventing updates to the app and limiting the ability to send or receive money through WeChat. However, just a day after the Commerce Department’s announcement, a federal district court issued a preliminary injunction halting the implementation of the WeChat prohibitions. In this Legal Update, we provide important background to the Commerce Department’s announcement, assess the scope of the prohibited transactions identified in the September 18 announcement and the potential impact on the business community, and address the uncertainty surrounding the implementation of Commerce’s action.

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