After almost over a month of banning a handful of top Chinese applications, the Indian government has come up with a broad list of over 275 applications that are being assessed for violation of national security and user data privacy.
While the first decision was taken in the wake of heightened tensions across the Indo-China borders, the new list not only includes apps from the companies that are of Chinese origin but also from the companies that have received funding from investment from Chinese companies.
Some of the big names that are being scrutinized are the popular game PubG from Tencent, 14 different apps from Xiaomi including Zili, AliExpress from Alibaba and Resso and Ulike from Bytedance. Similarly, apps from Meitu, LBE Tech, Perfect Corp, Sina Corp, Netease Games, Yoozoo Global, among others are also under the radar.
Interestingly, applications from Supercell, the owner of popular clash royale games like Clash of Clans, Clash Royale and Boom Beach etc. are also under the scanner. While Supercell is based in Helsinki, it was recently taken over Tencent.
What happens now?
An official committee is already reviewing the data practices of the 59 apps (and their Lite versions) that were banned earlier. As the deadline of this review ends this week, the committee will decide the fate of these applications. As for the new list, the agencies are still assessing the impact and no final decision has been taken around banning these new applications.
According to a Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) official who was quoted by the Economic Times, the government agencies will follow the due protocol before taking a call to ban these apps.
The fact that these apps are bound to provide any data to the Chinese government is the biggest piece of concern for the Indian agencies and government. In fact, the Indian agencies have been able to identify seven Chinese companies with close links to the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) of China. These companies include brands like Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei, among others.
Hence, based on the assessment by the agencies, the government may ban all, a few or none of these applications.
Effect of the previous ban
While the Chinese government did not like the ban for obvious reasons, however, as an aftermath of the previous ban other countries, including the US, also have been looking to ban Chinese apps like TikTok that have had a dubious history.
A few Chinese e-commerce companies have paused the payments to Indian vendors while Alibaba’s UCWeb has decided to wind up operations from India and have fired most of its employees.
The Indian app ecosystem, however, has made the most of this decision. To fill the void created by the absence of the likes of TikTok, CamScanner etc multiple homegrown apps have been introduced and Apps like Chingari, Mitron, HiPi, etc have got millions of downloads. Even Xiaomi’s Zilli, a TikTok clone, also saw a 169% growth with its user base soaring from 3 million to 8 million in a matter of a month.