India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country. The ban, which comes in the backdrop of current stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh with Chinese troops, also includes WeChat and Bigo Live. The list of apps that have been banned also include Helo, Likee, Cam Scanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call, Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein. This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies.
The government of India has issued a ban on 59 Chinese apps including a host of popular ones, such as TikTok, UC Browser, CamScanner, Shareit, Helo and more. The ban will have caused a considerable ruffling of feathers for Chinese companies operating apps in India, and while we await word from the likes of TikTok and UC Browser on the ban that has been imposed now, one important factor to note is what would happen to the apps for all those users that have already installed them. To understand the sequence of actions for banned apps on Google Play Store and Apple’s iOS App Store, it is important to note that the key factor at play here is data.
Government sources with knowledge of the matter confirmed to News18 that officials are in the process of informing all Indian internet service providers (ISPs) and telecom service providers (TSPs) already, who would be blocking all data and internet traffic to and from these apps. Since most of them work online only (for example, TikTok is a social medium, UC Browser is a content and browsing app and Clash of Kings is an online game), this would imply that all of the apps that have been banned would by default become non-functional.
With TikTok, UC Browser, Shein, Shareit, WeChat and the likes being banned from Indian app stores, what this also means is that none of these apps would receive any developer support in India. As a result, users who have already downloaded these apps would not be able to access app downloads either. This is particularly risky today, since most cyber attacks target unpatched app versions. App updates nowadays carry critical security patches, without which it cannot be advised for anyone to retain these apps.
Previously, when an app would be banned from a region, it would still remain functional if it did not depend on data. While this would hold true for these apps too, since they would no longer be able to access data in the Indian networks, they would be as good as inoperable. However, if a user moves out of Indian network space to countries where these apps are still legally operational, they may be able to use these services once again.
The ban on the 59 Chinese apps comes in light of the Indo-China clash at the Galwan Valley border, amid rising concerns around the world about Chinese cyber espionage. The likes of Bytedance and Xiaomi, which have significant operations in India, will likely face considerable impact as a result of these bans, since their businesses in India run into millions of dollars. While Xiaomi has only had two of their stock apps being banned, it remains to be seen what effect does this have on the pre-bundled software that they provide with their smartphones.
Requests for company inputs to TikTok and UC Browser sent by News18 remained unanswered at the time of reporting.
The list of Chinese apps banned in India include TikTok, Shareit, Shein, UC Browser, Mi Community, Clash of Kings and more.
Last Updated: June 29, 2020, 9:42 PM IST
The government of India has announced a ban on 59 Chinese apps that were listed on the Google Play Store and the Apple iOS App Store in India. The list includes the popular short video service TikTok, browser and content app UC Browser, file sharing service Shareit, women-specific fashion shopping app Shein, popular mobile game Clash of Kings, and more. These apps have been deemed to be a threat to the sovereignty of India, and comes in light of India and China’s Galwan Valley clash. The apps have reportedly been penalised based on intelligence information regarding how they share data with their parent companies, all of which are based in India. On this note, here is the full list of all 59 apps that have been announced as banned in India.