Home / Mobile / India bans dozens of Chinese mobile apps – Financial Times

India bans dozens of Chinese mobile apps – Financial Times

India has banned 59 of China’s biggest mobile phone apps, including TikTok and WeChat, on the grounds that they pose a threat to the country’s security.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology accused the apps collectively of breaching the privacy of Indian users and mining their data.

“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India [ . . . ] is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” it said.

Apple said it was reviewing the situation but that it was likely to comply with any order to remove the apps from its App Store. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ban is the first time that India has ordered the mass removal of foreign apps and comes after the death of 20 Indian soldiers earlier this month in a brutal brawl with People’s Liberation Army troops, an incident that has inflamed anti-China sentiment.

“I’ve not seen something at this scale,” said Apar Gupta, executive director of the Internet Freedom Foundation in New Delhi. “A precedent exists only towards blocking smaller websites and blogs with secessionist writings.”

It will come as a particular blow to TikTok, which has more than 200m users in India and counts it as its biggest overseas market. The viral social video app had already been temporarily banned in April last year for “degrading culture and encouraging pornography”. TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For years, India and China had looked past long-simmering border issues to focus on deepening economic ties, but the latest violence has forced the dispute back into the spotlight.

New Delhi has delayed the clearance of Chinese imports at ports and airports, frustrating manufacturers of mobile phones and other telecoms equipment that rely on imported Chinese components.

“It sends a strong message that Indian government walks the talk and will not think twice before taking a drastic and major step such as this,” said Jayanth Kolla, founder of consultancy Convergence Catalyst, speaking from Bangalore.

“It is a political narrative, tied into the national security rhetoric and nationalism at a higher level.”

Apprehension over Chinese investment in India had been growing even before the border dispute. In April, New Delhi tightened foreign investment rules to block “opportunistic takeovers” by its neighbours, fearing that stressed Indian companies would be targeted as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the economy.

The 59 Chinese apps banned by India

© Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty

1. TikTok
2. Shareit
3. Kwai
4. UC Browser
5. Baidu map
6. Shein
7. Clash of Kings
8. DU battery saver
9. Helo
10. Likee
11. YouCam makeup
12. Mi Community
13. CM Browser
14. Virus Cleaner
15. APUS Browser
16. ROMWE
17. Club Factory
18. Newsdog
19. Beauty Plus
20. WeChat
21. UC News
22. QQ Mail
23. Weibo
24. Xender
25. QQ Music
26. QQ Newsfeed
27. Bigo Live
28. SelfieCity
29. Mail Master
30. Parallel Space
31. Mi Video Call — Xiaomi
32. WeSync
33. ES File Explorer
34. Viva Video — QU Video Inc
35. Meitu
36. Vigo Video
37. New Video Status
38. DU Recorder
39. Vault-Hide
40. Cache Cleaner DU App studio
41. DU Cleaner
42. DU Browser
43. Hago Play With New Friends
44. Cam Scanner
45. Clean Master — Cheetah Mobile
46. Wonder Camera
47. Photo Wonder
48. QQ Player
49. We Meet
50. Sweet Selfie
51. Baidu Translate
52. Vmate
53. QQ International
54. QQ Security Center
55. QQ Launcher
56. U Video
57. V fly Status Video
58. Mobile Legends
59. DU Privacy


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