With increasing tensions between the two most populous countries of the world – India and China, New Delhi put a ban on dozens more apps that are owned by well-known Chinese companies as well as reviewing hundreds of others owned by Chinese companies, claimed reports.
According to an official at India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, bans on an additional 47 Chinese apps, all reportedly clones or variations of the 59 other apps that the Indian government had blocked last month citing national security threats from those apps, have been banned in the country.
A number of prominent Chinese apps, including the wildly popular video sharing app TikTok, have been caught up in the initial ban. Lighter versions designed for entry-level smartphones with limited memory are generally the clones or variants of apps.
“Although the decision is based on the fact the new apps are the clones of the previously banned apps, we believe that this signals a strong intent from the Indian government’s point of view on their stand about data security and privacy,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research. “This will surely open up a lot of discussion about other apps as well.”
More than 250 other apps, that would include the popular mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG, published by Tencent, and AliExpress, which is a shopping platform owned and operated by Alibaba, are also being currently reviewed by the Indian government, claimed reports on Monday in the Indian media. According to analytics firm AppAnnie, in terms of monthly active users, PUBG was the top mobile game in India last year.
There has been no official comment from the Indian government on the issue.
These latest measures taken by New Delhi against Chinese apps highlights the worsening relationship between the two neighbors. Citing “grounds of defense of India” and “national security”, neighboring countries have been restricted by India from bidding on public contracts last week. The new restrictions included exemptions for India’s neighboring countries of Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal and hence analysts view ht restrictions are aimed primarily at China.
Deadly border clashes last month left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead sparked huge geopolitical tensions between the two countries which continue to escalate even now. Calls for a boycott of Chinese products have been given by a large number of Indians particularly boycotting the dominant tech industry of China.
There were no comments available from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the new app ban.
The previous ban on Chinese app by India was as however opposed by the Chinese ministry.
The Chinese government was “strongly concerned” about the ban, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, had told the media in early July about the previous ban. Authorities were still “checking and verifying information on the situation,” he said.
China however also said that it was India’s responsibility to “uphold the legitimate rights of international investors.”
(Adapted from CNN.com)