India has banned 59 apps from China, including the popular short video program TikTok, owned by ByteDance Ltd., invoking threats to its sovereignty, security and public order, while relations between the two nations was deteriorating.
Blocked apps include those from prominent Chinese tech giants, including UC Web from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Baidu Map and Baidu Translate from Internet research company Baidu Inc., and WeChat and Clash of Kings from the company. Tencent Holdings Ltd. . The move comes days after escalating border tensions with China in the Himalayas killed 20 Indian soldiers.
The unauthorized transmission and storage of Indian user data on servers abroad and “its extraction and profiling by elements hostile to the national security and defense of India” is a matter of deep concern and immediate requiring emergency measures, said the Ministry of Electronics and Information. Technology said Monday in a statement.
This is the latest decision by India, which is trying to reduce dependence on Chinese products. As the border standoff, which has been brewing for almost two months, has worsened, customs officials have started to suspend customs clearance for industrial shipments from China at major Indian ports and airports.
However, it is unclear how the ban will be implemented, as most of these apps already reside on users’ phones. The government may need to block application servers and prevent new users from downloading them. The ban will affect one in three smartphone users in India, said Tarun Pathak, associate director of Counterpoint Technology, in an interview.
Meanwhile, the government’s decision to ban the apps has started to gain support from social media.
“It’s time to make tough decisions to get out of China’s clutches,” tweeted Nirmal Jain, president of the financial services conglomerate IIFL Group.
While banning other Chinese-made products and materials is difficult in Asia’s third economy, blocking a wide range of Chinese apps ranging from browsers, games, news content, Music streaming and online sales is particularly important.
India, with its half a billion Internet users, is an emerging arena for global technology companies from the United States to China. While hundreds of millions of new users connect to India, they do so on Chinese smartphones and these countless Chinese applications are their gateway to the Internet.
For ByteDance, which considers India to be its largest market with more than 200 million TikTok users, this decision is a major blow. ByteDance faced a brief ban in India last year, and is monitored in Europe. It also faces growing questions from American policymakers as to whether it endangers national security. ByteDance did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
“Some of these Chinese apps are not just for commerce, but they are deeply embedded in the social fabric of our lives,” said Anil Kumar, general manager of technology researcher, RedSeer Consulting. “They know what you are doing, what you are saying, where you are going. In the current environment, they can be seen as a threat to our national security.”
(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)