Last month, India made the call of banning a total of 59 Chinese-origin apps after the tension between the two bordering nations escalated. As a result, TikTok, which had amassed over 200 million users in the country, was taken down, along with other popular apps like CamScanner, Shareit, and UC Browser. Incoming reports say that the South Asian nation has now banned 47 more apps, while some 275 additional apps, including PUBG and AliExpress, are also being considered for a similar ban.
The country’s state broadcaster tweeted earlier today that 47 new apps would be joining the banned list. These apps are said to have cloned some of the previously prohibited 59 apps to ride on their coattails and fill the void. While the authorities are yet to release the official list, most of the newly banned apps likely have some Chinese connection. Meanwhile, TikTok’s Indian alternatives such as Mitron and Roposo should remain immune from these bans, just like some other lookalikes that we saw recently.
— DD News (@DDNewslive) July 27, 2020
In addition to these, the Indian government is also considering 275 other Chinese apps for a similar course of action. The Economic Times had access to the internal document and could confirm a few big names, including Tencent’s wildly popular multiplayer game PUBG and Ludo World, along with AliExpress. Despite its Finnish origin, Clash of Clans and Clash Royale maker Supercell is also under scrutiny since it has a sizeable investment from China’s Tencent. Other apps on the list include ByteDance’s ULike and music streaming app Resso, along with Xiaomi’s short video app Zili.
These are other Chinese tech giants whose apps are being considered for a ban in India:
- LBE Tech
- Perfect Corp
- Sina Corp
- Netease Games
- Yoozoo Global
The Indian government’s official reasoning behind these app bans is data snooping and other user privacy concerns that have been raised abundantly. But it has thus far refrained from providing any evidence to back this claim. In the meantime, Economic Times’ sources in the ministry suggest that plans are underway to formalize the banning process to keep a constant watch on the apps operating in India. This means we could see more similar bans on apps and services down the line.
At the moment, the scope of such bans isn’t clear as it currently focuses on apps and doesn’t call for shutting down the corresponding websites. While the TikTok app was taken down from the Play Store in India, its website hasn’t been blocked at the ISP’s level. If India goes ahead with banning AliExpress, chances are that its web storefront may remain active, unless it takes the extreme step of blocking all Indian IP addresses and other workarounds like TikTok did.
- Gurkanwal Singh