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    India bans 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, WeChat, Helo

    Synopsis

    ShareIT, UC browser and shopping app Clubfactory are among other prominent apps which have been banned.

    India-China standoff: GOI bans 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, SHAREit
    The Government of India has banned 59 Chinese mobile applications, including top social media platforms such as TikTok, WeChat and Helo, to counter the threat posed by these applications to the country’s “sovereignty and security”.

    ShareIT, UC browser and shopping app Clubfactory are among the other prominent apps that have been blocked amid rising tensions between India and China following clashes at the border two weeks ago.

    In a press release, the government said the applications are engaged in activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” The ban has been imposed under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009, it said. The govt also cited complaints about data on Indian users being transferred abroad without authorisation.

    The move could come as a blow to China’s Digital Silk Route ambitions, eroding the valuation of the companies. It could also lead to more countries following India’s cue and acting against these apps, sources told ET.

    A top official said the government had considered all aspects before taking the decision. “These apps have been there for a long time, and there are some privacy and security issues with them including risks of data going out of the country,” said the person.

    The statement from the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) said it had received complaints from various sources, including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers outside India.

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    Ban Recommended by MHA
    “The compilation of the data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” it said. “There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country.”

    The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, has sent an “exhaustive recommendation for blocking the malicious apps,” the press release said.

    The Internet Freedom Foundation said, “This is not a legal order issued under Section 69A. Our first ask is transparency and disclosure.” The activist group tweeted such cases needed to be considered individually and not in the aggregate.

    “There is legitimacy in concerns of data security and citizens’ privacy,” it said. “This may be achieved through regulatory processes that emerge from objective, evidence based measures. This ensures credible action that protects individual liberty, innovation & security interests.”

    Spokespeople for ByteDance, the owners of TikTok and Helo, and Alibaba, which owns UC Browser, said they could not comment immediately.

    ‘WELCOME MOVE’
    InMobi, the ad tech company that owns Roposo, a video app that competes with TikTok, said the move would open up the market for its platform while ShareChat, the Indian social network, welcomed the government’s move.

    Bolo Indya, a rival to TikTok, says it will benefit from the ban on its larger rival. “We welcome the decision as we resonate the concerns raised by the government. This is the opportunity for Bolo Indya and other Indian apps to deliver value, keeping Indian culture and data security at the highest priority,” said its co-founder and CEO Varun Saxena.

    ‘LEGALLY SOUND’
    Analysts said the move will impact the Chinese apps.

    “From a tactical perspective, it puts enormous economic pressure because these apps were heavily reliant on Indian markets. From a legal perspective, it is sound because grounds like national security are difficult to challenge in a court of law,” said Santosh Pai, partner at Link Legal, who tracks Chinese investments in the country. “If this is going to be the new state of affairs, we need to see whether Indian apps will fulfil the need or American apps will take market share.”

    Investors in Indian social apps say that competition will come down due to the ban on Chinese apps.

    “The competitive threat will go down. But a lot of apps in India are inspired by the deft engineering of Chinese apps. Overall the ecosystem's ingenuity will slow down,” said Deepak Gupta, founding partner at WEH Ventures, which has invested in Indian video blogging platform Trell.

    Here's the complete list of the apps banned:
    1. TikTok
    2. Shareit
    3. Kwai
    4. UC Browser
    5. Baidu map
    6. Shein
    7. Clash of Kings
    8. DU battery saver
    9. Helo
    10. Likee
    11. YouCam makeup
    12. Mi Community
    13. CM Browers
    14. Virus Cleaner
    15. APUS Browser
    16. ROMWE
    17. Club Factory
    18. Newsdog
    19. Beutry Plus
    20. WeChat
    21. UC News
    22. QQ Mail
    23. Weibo
    24. Xender
    25. QQ Music
    26. QQ Newsfeed
    27. Bigo Live
    28. SelfieCity
    29. Mail Master
    30. Parallel Space
    31. Mi Video Call – Xiaomi
    32. WeSync
    33. ES File Explorer
    34. Viva Video – QU Video Inc
    35. Meitu
    36. Vigo Video
    37. New Video Status
    38. DU Recorder
    39. Vault- Hide
    40. Cache Cleaner DU App studio
    41. DU Cleaner
    42. DU Browser
    43. Hago Play With New Friends
    44. Cam Scanner
    45. Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile
    46. Wonder Camera
    47. Photo Wonder
    48. QQ Player
    49. We Meet
    50. Sweet Selfie
    51. Baidu Translate
    52. Vmate
    53. QQ International
    54. QQ Security Center
    55. QQ Launcher
    56. U Video
    57. V fly Status Video
    58. Mobile Legends
    59. DU Privacy

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    182 Comments on this Story

    Maneiha13 hours ago
    More and all Chinese apps should be banned by India,
    vamsi9 days ago
    Check this app out Pdf Scan India. An awesome app 100% MADE IN INDIA to scan documents and generate pdfs.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ndscanner
    Rakesh Vaddepati9 days ago
    Why ban Chinese apps
    The Economic Times