Last year, the Center removed hundreds of Chinese apps for engaging in activities “detrimental to the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.”
On September 2, the government banned 118 more apps and in November it blocked 43 new Chinese mobile apps in the country, including the shopping website AliExpress.
In January this year, India also permanently blocked 59 of these apps, including TikTok.
But apps like Alibaba, Bytedance, and Xiaomi have grown exponentially since then.
A TOI investigation found that at least 8 of the top 60 apps in India today are operated by Chinese, and together they reach more than 211 million users every month.
The same apps had 96 million users in July 2020 when they were banned, meaning they acquired 115 million new users in the last 13 months.
Most of these companies listed their apps under new company names, with little public information about ownership, in an attempt to mask any Chinese connections.
The crackdown, at the height of a protracted border clash with China, prompted the government to ban popular apps such as TikTok, PUBG, Likee, Shareit, WeChat and CamScanner, Baidu Search, Snack Video, Cam Card, WeWorkChina and WeDate, among others. . Xiaomi apps.
“The Ministry of Electronics and IT has issued the order to block the access of these applications … based on the full reports received from the Cyber Crimes Coordination Center of India, Ministry of the Interior … The government undertakes to protect the interests of citizens and the sovereignty and integrity of India on all fronts and all possible measures will be taken to ensure that, ”the government had said.
Almost all of the new apps belong to the media and entertainment space, which is where companies like Tiktok (from Bytedance) and SnackVideo (from Kuaishou) were operating when they were banned in 2020, according to the TOI report.
When contacted, the public relations teams at Bytedance and UC Browser had no comment. A Xiaomi spokesperson said: “Being a responsible company, we attach the utmost importance to ensuring that we comply with all Indian laws and orders issued by the Indian government and we have always adhered to this principle.”
The company said that “all Xiaomi proprietary applications (functional or not) that were ordered to block access in India have been duly blocked and removed from our smartphones and we have also taken all measures to inform users about these. blocked apps “.
Government officials TOI spoke with said that any action against the new apps will be taken only after law enforcement agencies raise a red flag on their operation.