This announcement is coming few weeks after the deadly clash between military personnel of both countries in relation to the disputed border between China and India, leaving 20 Indian soldiers dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties.
According to the Ministry of Information Technology, the ban of these Chinese apps comes after receiving “many complaints from various sources” alleging that Chinese apps were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India”.
“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security, and defense of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the ministry further stated.
Chinese tech giants are not spared from this ban, as the popular video-sharing social networking platform TikTok was affected, as well as Tencent’s WeChat, Alibaba’s UC Browser, Shareit and Baidu Map. This means that these platforms will no longer benefit from the large consumer market of India which has the second largest population in the world (1.3 Billion) with about 50% internet users.
This is not the first move to remove Chinese Apps from India amidst the border dispute. Earlier this month, an Indian firm OneTouch AppLabs, gained popularity after developing the “Remove China Apps” android App, which does exactly what its name connotes. The App which was downloaded more than 5 million times from late May, enabled users to detect and easily delete android apps built by Chinese firms. The anti-China App was then removed from Google Play Store on the rounds of violating the Deceptive Behavior Policy for the app store.
Tiktok also has a number of lawsuits from other nations such as the US that alleges the company owned by Beijing-based ByteDance of inappropriately handling users’ data.