India bans more Chinese apps

Photo via CNN

New Delhi, India – Along with banning the famous app TikTok, India is set to ban more apps that are made by Chinese companies.

The country is reportedly reviewing hundreds of from well-known Chinese companies apps and is banning dozens as tensions between the world’s most populous countries continue to rise.

An official at India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology told CNN Business on Tuesday that on national security grounds, India banned an additional 47 apps, all clones or variations of 59 other apps last month.

Several prominent Chinese apps were caught up in the initial ban including the wildly popular video sharing app TikTok. The app clones or variants are expected to include lighter versions designed for entry-level smartphones with limited memory.

“Although the decision is based on the fact the new apps are the clones of the previously banned apps, we believe that this signals a strong intent from the Indian government’s point of view on their stand about data security and privacy,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research.

“This will surely open up a lot of discussion about other apps as well,” he said.

The media of the country also reported on Monday that the government is also reviewing more than 250 other apps, including popular mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), published by Tencent (TCEHY), and AliExpress, a shopping platform from Alibaba (BABA).

PUBG was according to analytics firm AppAnnie, the top mobile game by monthly active users in India last year. A government spokesperson of India refused to comment of the topic.

These movements are considered to be the latest sign of deterioration in the India-China relationship. India had restricted neighboring countries from bidding on public contracts, citing “grounds of defense of India” and “national security,” last week as well. However, as the restrictions excluded the countries Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal, it was largely viewed as if it was aimed at China.

The geopolitical tensions between India and China continued to escalate after deadly border clashes leaving at least 20 Indian soldiers dead on June. Regarding this issue many Indians have called for a boycott of Chinese goods and services, particularly from China’s dominant tech industry.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China did not respond to a faxed request for comment on the new app ban, but had earlier this month pushed back on India’s initial decision to ban Chinese apps.

A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian told reporters that the government was “strongly concerned” about the ban in early July and that the authorities were still “checking and verifying information on the situation,” but added that it was India’s responsibility to “uphold the legitimate rights of international investors.”