"China's been engaged in the theft and forced transfer of U.S. technologies and intellectual property for years". The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the order before Trump's formal announcement.
The new measure comes amid high tensions between Washington and Beijing.
In a phone call Friday, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for backing the recent United Nations vote to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
"If Americans continue to have their best technology and intellectual property stolen, or forcibly transferred offshore, the United States will find it hard to maintain its current technology-leadership position and to remain one of the world's most innovative economies".
The process Lighthizer will initiate, under Article 302b of the US Commercial Code, could take as long as a year to yield its findings.
Rep. David Cicilline urged Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday to call back the House from its August recess in order to debate legislation that would require congressional approval for a USA pre-emptive strike.
On Tuesday, Washington announced preliminary sanctions against imports of Chinese aluminum foil.
Trump informed Chinese President Xi Jinping during a phone call on Friday night of the upcoming memorandum, a senior administration official told CNN Friday.
"Most Americans are fully aware that China is stealing our intellectual property", they added.
Trump was reported to direct U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to determine if an investigation is warranted of "any of China's laws, policies, practices or actions that may be unreasonable or discriminatory, and that may be harming American intellectual property, innovation and technology".
United States officials will particularly examine the role of joint ventures, the mixed foreign-and-Chinese companies whose establishment is required for any outside business wishing to sell its products in China. China is the North's biggest economic partner and source of aid, but says it alone can't compel Pyongyang to end its nuclear and missile programs.
"If Americans continue to have their best technologies and intellectual property stolen or forcibly transferred off-shore, the United States will find it hard to maintain its current technology leadership position", they added. "They should not be forced to turn over the fruits of their labor". American companies "should not be forced or coerced to turn over the fruits of their labour", the official said, adding that the cost of intellectual theft on USA economy is estimated to be as high as Dollars 600 billion a year.