Hong Kong and China stocks tumbled Friday, as US President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning Tencent’s WeChat to “protect our national security”, his latest act targeting Chinese companies. Tencent fell as much as 10 per cent, before narrowing its loss to close down by 5 per cent, as Trump’s ire turned to Chinese apps. Other tech stocks in addition to Tencent dropped, with the two-week-old Hang Seng Tech Index tumbling 2.5 per cent. It narrowed the loss later to 2.6 per cent. It had been down as much as 5.7 per cent. Alibaba, the e-commerce giant and owner of the South China Morning Post , dropped 3 per cent, smartphone maker Xiaomi fell 3 per cent and lens manufacturing Sunny Optical slid nearly 2 per cent. “Trump’s action will definitely provoke the Chinese government, and revenge will trigger the next round of sanction,” said Alan Li, portfolio manager of Atta Capital. The Hang Seng Index fell as much as 3 per cent, but trimmed the loss to close 1.6 per cent lower at 24,531.62. Trump’s order bans US transactions on WeChat, the hugely popular Chinese social media and digital payment app. It is a part of Trump’s expanding list of claimed threats posed by China and its companies, including alleged theft of intellectual property and spying – accusations Beijing forcefully denies. The US is also moving to tighten auditing rules on companies that are listed on American stock exchanges. Foreign companies stand to be delisted by January 2020 if they do not provide access to their audits. The world’s superpowers are to meet on August 15, according to The Wall Street Journal , to discuss how their phase one trade deal is coming along, and Trump’s actions against tech companies are expected to come up. Hong Kong government defends stock exchange after Donald Trump’s grim prediction US-China tensions have returned to the plate of concerns investors face, which includes the coronavirus pandemic and the economic damage it continues to cause globally. Trump has targeted Huawei and other tech companies over national security and human rights concerns. But this week, he turned to Chinese apps. The White House said the US “must take aggressive action against the owner of WeChat to protect our national security,” according to Bloomberg. Beijing has also called for an end of the visit of the first American Cabinet-level visit since 1979 to Taiwan. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will head to Taiwan in coming days. In the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index snap a five-session winning streak. It shed 1 per cent to 3,354.04. Shenzhen Composite Index declined 1.6 per cent. The Chinese tech board ChiNext dropped 2.3 per cent. Tech stocks tumbled. Guangzhou Fangbang Electronics and Cybrid Technologies plunged by the daily cap of 10 per cent. Military and aerospace stocks were a bright spot in the glow of China’s recent newly launched probe of Mars. At least 16 of such stocks surged by the daily limit of 10 per cent, including electromagnetic protection company Sichuan Zhongguang Lightning Protection Technologies and AECC Aero Science. Meanwhile, new data from China backed up earlier signals that China’s economy is recovering from the damage wrought by the coronavirus. China’s exports surged 7.2 per cent from a year earlier in US dollar terms, according to data released by the Chinese Customs Administration. That was better than what analysts expected. Imports fell by 1.4 per cent compared to the previous year. China’s exports in surprising surge in July, as strong trade recovery from coronavirus continued In Hong Kong, property company CK Asset led laggards. It fell as much as 9.3 per cent, after reporting that its profit in the first half plunged 58 per cent year over year amid a slump in hotel revenue due to Covid-19. Also, Chinese chip producer Semiconductor Manufacturing International plummeted 8.7 per cent in Hong Kong, after reporting it is ramping up its 2020 capital expenditures to boost production capacity, threatening profits. Elsewhere in Asia, stocks were mixed. The Nikkei 225 in Japan lost 0.4 per cent, while the S&P ASX200 in Australia declined 0.6 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.4 per cent.