China expresses strong concern over Indian ban on mobile apps

Chinese apps

India on Monday banned 59, mostly Chinese, mobile apps including Bytedance's TikTok, Alibaba's UC Browser, and Tencent's WeChat citing security concerns.

"All Apps released in India must adhere to India's data integrity, privacy, sovereignty, and transparency".

For China however, the ban could result in a substantial losses not only in terms of revenue but in terms of market reputation.

"The government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it", Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok India, said in a statement, adding that the company has been invited to meet with government stakeholders concerned for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications. Chinese products are ubiquitous in India, from toys to smartphones to Made-in-China Hindu idols.

TikTok, owned by China's ByteDance, allows users to upload and share short videos and is spectacularly popular in India - its 120 million users have made it the app's top worldwide market.

Indian industry analysts believe this could include job losses for people working for the app companies.

Expressing serious concern at India's ban on Chinese mobile phone applications, China on Tuesday said that the move was discriminatory, impacted the employment of Indian creators and possibly violated rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

This isn't the first time TikTok has been banned in India - the Madras High Court in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu banned it previous year over hate speech concerns, but quickly vacated its order. So the size is very small and the Chinese companies, be it your smartphone vendors, companies in the startup space or the app space have a big presence in the India market today which can not be ignored. "For the time being the users who have been using these apps may be able to use them but it's just a matter of days, before a total blockage happens", the cyber security expert added.

India is one of TikTok's largest markets.

TikTok app has been installed about 2 billion times globally, according to mobile insights firm Sensor Tower.

The Karakoram clash fanned already growing anti-Chinese sentiment amid the coronavirus pandemic, which emerged in China in December.

TikTok has sought to cultivate goodwill: in April it said on Twitter that it had donated 30 crore rupees (about $40 million) to PM Cares, a fund set up by Modi's office to battle the coronavirus. So far, it has not. India accounted for 611 million of those downloads, the firm said.

"Chinese investors are going to become very wary of investing in India".

Chinese electronic firms also have a major presence in India, with cellphone brands like Xiaomi - which manufactures in India - enjoying a market share of nearly 65 percent.

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