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India bans 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, UC Browser; here’s why


In an unprecedented move, India on Monday (June 29) banned 59 Chinese mobile apps including TikTok, UC Browser and Cam Scanner among others. A statement from the government said that the apps are ‘engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order’.

While it is believed that the Centre decided to ban these apps due to the ongoing tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control, experts maintained that even if the relationship with China does not deteriorate, these apps should not have been allowed to operate in India.

According to an estimate, these Chinese apps earn around 30-40% of their income from India. Popular Chinese app Tik Tok wanted to earn as much as Rs 100 from India till September. But the Centre’s decision to ban Tik Tok and other 58 Chinese apps would be big blow to Beijing’s plan to earn crores of rupees from India. These apps were making the mind of Indian an ideological colony of China. That’s why India has made an unprecedented ‘digital airstrike’ on China’s soft power. Just like in 2019, India responded strongly to Pakistan by air strike on Balakot and surgical strike in PoK in 2016. The true tribute to 20 Indian soldiers who were martyred in Galwan Valley on June 15 is that we now start saying Hindi Chinese bye bye in every sphere of life.

China wants to expand its business across the world through the Belt and Road Initiative. The countries involved in this project are upset today as China is pressurizing them to pay back their debt. China also wanted to make India a part of this new silk route, but India flatly refused to be a part of this project and now India has also conducted an air strike on China’s digital silk route.

China was intruding not only on Indian border but also on your life and your mind and heart with the help of internet. You were not only using mobile applications manufactured in China, but were also inadvertently handing over all your personal information to the Chinese companies and the government. For example, most of China’s mobile phone apps ask 45 percent more permissions from consumers than other apps.

These include apps such as Tiktok, UC Browser, Helo and Shareit. In many cases, these apps also ask for permission to use your smartphone’s camera and microphone. With the help of these applications, your personal conversations can be heard and photos and videos around you can also be recorded and all this is possible without your permission.

According to Chinese law, all companies have to share data with the Chinese government. That means your private data can also be handed over to the Chinese government by the companies controlling these mobile apps. It has been often said that ‘data will become oil’ in the future and any country with maximum data will become the strongest nation. 

This digital expansionary policy of China is not a threat to countries like India only from the security point of view, rather it was also harming local traders and entrepreneurs.

The intrusion of Chinese apps into mobile app market had increased a lot in the last few years. In the case of mobile app downloads, there were only 18 Chinese apps in the top 100 apps in 2017, but in 2018 the number of Chinese apps in the top 100 list increased to 44.

Among the most popular Chinese apps in India is TikTok, which has more than 200 million active users in India. This app has been developed by a Chinese company named ByteDance. The number of Indians playing PUBG-like games on mobile phones is more than 50 million. PUBG is also controlled by a Chinese company named Tencent. However, there is no information to ban it yet.

China’s UC Browser has become India’s No. 2 internet browser after Google Chrome with 22 percent market share. UC Browser belongs to the Chinese company Alibaba. This too has now been banned.

Similarly, Helo is a social networking app with more than 4 million users in India. This is also an app operated by the ByteDance company. This app has also been banned in India.

Mnay Indians may have also used Shareit, which is a file sharing app, in their smartphone, Apart from this, you must also be using an app named Vigo video. This too has now been banned.

Another Chinese app named CamScanner is also very popular in India. The app is used to scan documents and pictures and it has about 100 million users. It has also been banned.

According to an estimate, China accounts for about 45 percent of the total Android applications downloaded in India.

Many countries have already banned these Chinese apps due to privacy and security issues. In March 2018, Australia had banned the use of WeChat by its troops. In January 2018, the US Council on Foreign Relations claimed that China’s Communist government runs propaganda through Chinese apps like Baidu.

In December 2017, India government had also declared 42 mobile phone apps of China including Shareit as dangerous due to security and privacy issues. The government had also warned the military forces to avoid using these apps

In August 2017, China had admitted that apps like Weibo, WeChat and Baidu violate cyber security regulations.

According to reports, China also conducts illegal acts of spying through Made In China mobile phones. China’s mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi is accused of sending its users’ data secretly to China.

Source: Zee News