‘Ban on 59 Chinese apps for safety, security and integrity of India’, says government
India on Monday banned 59 Chinese mobile applications amid border stand-off with the neighbouring country. The government has cited national security for banning these apps.
The ban covers some of the most popular apps in India like TikTok, SHAREiT, UC Browser and WeChat.
Almost all the apps banned have some preferential Chinese interest and the majority have parent Chinese companies.
The decision to ban these apps was taken after it was found that “they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order”, the Ministry of Information Technology said in a release on Monday.
The release further said that the ministry has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.
“For safety, security, defence, sovereignty & integrity of India and to protect data & privacy of people of India the Government has banned 59 mobile apps. Jai Hind!” Law, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Twitter.
Indian intelligence agencies had been trying to restrict the mobile applications on grounds that the apps were designed to extract data and park them outside the country, where at a later stage they could be used to intrude into the privacy of Indian citizens.
Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and domestic social media app ShareChat welcomed the move. “This huge unprecedented step will go a long way in strengthening the ‘Boycott China’ campaign of CAIT. Boycott China movement is now well and truly a national reality and seven crore traders of India stands in solidarity with the Union Government,” CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said in a statement.
ShareChat Director Public Policy Berges Malu the company expects the government to continue their support for the Indian startup ecosystem.
“This step can prove to be a golden moment in Indian startup journey with ‘Made in India’ apps getting a rare opportunity to onboard those users and provide them with these services. Indian technology ecosystem has come a long way in last 5-6 years and are at par with the capabilities of any other startup ecosystem in the world. We welcome this move and we hope Indians will choose apps which are made in India, for India,” said Piyush, CEO and founder, Rooter, Delhi-based gaming and Sport Live app.
Relations between the two countries have been strained following the deaths of 20 Indian troops in a stand-off in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15.
Most of the applications are highly popular in India, including ByteDance-owned video-sharing app TikTok, with a combined user base of more than half a billion.
There are estimated to be about 120 million TikTok users in India, making the South Asian nation of 1.3 billion people the app’s biggest international market.
Chinese mobiles have an almost 65 per cent share in the local smartphone market.
From toys, cosmetics, makeup and handbags to home appliances, pharma, auto components, and steel, China exports more than 3,000 products to India.