India retains its ban on 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok and WeChat

Platform News: India Bans Chinese smartphone apps

The Indian government has decided to keep its ban on the viral TikTok apps and 58 other China-made apps after reviewing responses from the businesses in question on issues such as compliance and privacy, two sources with direct knowledge of this matter have told journalists.

When it initially imposed the ban in June, India’s ministry of electronics and information technology (IT) gave the 59 apps a opportunity to clarify their position on issues such as whether they censored content, functioned on behalf of overseas governments or lobbied influencers.

The firms, including ByteDance’s popular video-sharing app TikTok, Tencent Holdings’ WeChat and Alibaba’s UC Browser, were asked in July to respond to 77 questions amid rising tensions between India and China following a border clash between the two nations.

A government panel looking into the app ban decided, after reviewing the responses, that there will be no change in the country’s position for now as the ban was in the interest of India’s national security and sovereignty, one source said.

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The Times of India newspaper reported late on Monday that the ban is permanent.

India’s IT ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TikTok said in a statement it is evaluating the notice and will respond to it.

“We continually strive to comply with local laws and regulations and also do our best to address any concerns the government might have. Ensuring the privacy and security of our customers remains to be our topmost priority,” it said.

UC Web declined to comment.

The extension of the ban comes days after Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a “minor face-off” in a disputed stretch of their shared border in the eastern Himalayas.

The ministry’s June order stated that the apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. It followed a skirmish with Chinese troops in a contested Himalayan border site when 20 Indian troops had been murdered.

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Back in September, India banned another 118 smartphone and tablet apps, such as Tencent’s popular videogame PUBG, as it stepped up the pressure on Chinese technology businesses following a dangerous military stand-off in the border.

The 118 apps continue to be prohibited and no decision was reached on them yet.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal in New Delhi. Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai. Editing by Sonya Hepinstall.

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