Last month India imposed a ban on 59 Chinese apps in light of user data security issues triggered by the border skirmish between the two Asian giants. These apps included the likes of TikTok, Xender, Weibo, and Clean Master. Now the government officials from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) are scrutinizing another 275 Chinese origin apps which are suspected of violating security and user privacy. Depending on the findings – all, some or none of these apps could be banned in the nation.
Interestingly, PUBG Mobile by Tencent – one of the most popular battle royale games in the country is also on the list. Other major apps included are – AliExpress by Alibaba and Zili by Xiaomi. Apps like Resso and ULike by ByteDance (makers of TikTok) are also under the scanner. Other apps by Chinese tech companies like Meitu, LBE Tech, Perfect Corp, Sina Corp, Yoozoo Global will also be scrutinized.
The government is also going to examine the funding channels for these apps and the flow of data from these apps to China. For example, non-Chinese apps by Helsinki-based Supercell, which has Chinese tech company funders will also be checked. All of this is to examine if any of these apps are illegally sourcing sensitive Indian user data back to the Chinese government.
According to industry findings, nearly 300 million unique Indian users are using apps by Chinese internet companies. That’s nearly two-thirds of users who have downloaded/used at least one Chinese app. If there is any kind of user privacy or data breach then it is a matter of great concern for the nation.
Apparently, the Indian government has also banned another 47 Chinese clone apps. These applications are spin-offs of the original apps that were banned earlier. Some of these apps are TikTok Lite, Helo Lite, Shareit Lite, and Bigo Live Lite.