India bans TikTok, WeChat and dozens more Chinese apps

  • India bans TikTok, WeChat and dozens more Chinese apps

India bans TikTok, WeChat and dozens more Chinese apps

TikTok has over 200 million users in India and sees the country as one of its most important markets after China.

The government said that the apps were banned because they posed threat to India "in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".

Ministry of Information Technology took the step "in view of the emergent nature of threats", officials said.

The banned apps include TikTok, UC Browser WeChat and Bigo Live, as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein, that are used in mobile and non-mobile devices connected to the Internet, according to a government statement.

The crisis began on May 5 when Chinese troops annexed 60 sq km of the disputed Himalayan border zone of Ladakh in Kashmir, leading to the deaths of at least 23 Indian soldiers in hand to hand fighting on June 15. Apparently, the decision has been taken for apps "which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order. This decision is a targeted move to ensure the safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace".

TikTok and WeChat are widely popular in India.

The Indian ministry did not reference the border conflict or the fact that numerous banned apps were developed by Chinese companies in their statement.

The ban was lifted after a few weeks.

Why it matters: The applications blocked include ByteDance's TikTok, a massively popular short-form video app that has come under scrutiny in the USA and elsewhere amid growing concerns about Chinese technological threats.

The ban comes at a time when anti-China sentiments in India are rising in the wake of the border clash between the two nations.

The ban is also expected to be a big stumbling block for firms such as Beijing-based Bytedance which had plans to invest $1bn in India, open a local data centre, and had recently ramped up hiring in the country.

Monday's move appeared to be a effect of the worst conflict between the two nations in more than 50 years.

Now, both sides have said they are trying to resolve the dispute through dialogue, but thousands of soldiers remain on alert.