India Takes Step to Ban 59 Chinese Apps

On Monday, India announced to ban 59 Chinese mobile apps. Some of them are Bytedance’s TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat. Since this month’s border crisis that erupted between the two countries. This is the strongest move yet targeting China in the online space.

New Delhi’s technology ministry issued an order that stated that these apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order.” Google and Apple will follow the order by removing all these apps from the Android and iOS stores respectively.

This move comes in the wake of the deadly border clash between the two nuclear neighbors, earlier this month. It resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers.

It is the first time for the country to order a ban so many foreign apps being the world’s second-largest internet market with nearly half of its 1.3 billion populations online. The ban is expected to be a stumbling block for Chinese firms. As they have placed big bets in the world’s biggest web services markets.

Bytedance which is headquartered in Beijing had not only planned to invest $1 billion in India but also opened local data centers. The company had recently ramped up hiring in the country. Among others, in India, Tencent’s WeChat has been downloaded more than 100 million times on Google’s Android. Also, Alibaba’s UC Browser and two of Xiaomi’s apps.

Santosh Pai, the partner at Indian law firm Link Legal, advises several Chinese companies, said “This is the quickest and most powerful step the government could have taken to put economic pressure on Chinese companies.”

While the sentiment of anti-China has long simmered in India due to several accusations of cheap imports, the border clash has accelerated the tensions, calling people to boycott Chinese products. Furthermore, since last week, Indian customs have held back containers from China at ports, including Cisco, Apple, and Dell products.

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