Washington DC: US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese apps including Ant Group's Alipay, the White House said, escalating tensions with Beijing before President-elect Joe Biden takes office this month.

Trump's order said action is needed to "deal with the national emergency" caused by the "pervasiveness of the spread" of apps created and controlled in China.

The ban against the eight Chinese apps -- Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office -- will come into effect in 45 days from Tuesday.

It flags the possibility that the apps could be used to track and build dossiers on US federal employees.

"The United States must take aggressive action against those who develop or control Chinese connected software applications to protect our national security," the order said.

Trump said that India has banned the use of more than 200 Chinese connected software applications throughout the country.

In a statement, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology asserted that the applications were "stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India," according to the executive order.

President Trump's order says, "by accessing personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, Chinese connected software applications can access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including sensitive personally identifiable information and private information."

The Trump administration has ratcheted up pressure on Chinese companies in its final months in office, including those it considers a national security risk.