India Bans Another 43 Chinese Apps, Claiming Data Security Concerns

The Indian government announced Tuesday to ban another 43 Chinese apps, including Alibaba-backed Aliexpress. The Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology stated in the block order the concerns over data security as well as the sovereignty and integrity of India.

“This action was taken based on input regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order,” said the Indian ministry. 

The technology minister of India also pointed out that the order is part of the digital strike, regarding the deadly border conflict which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers on the Himalayan border in June. 

Since June, the country started the app block by prohibiting the use of 59 Chinese mobile apps, including viral short video sharing platform TikTok backed by Beijing-based ByteDance, one of whose largest user bases comes from India, and Tencent-developed social media mobile app WeChat.

In addition, India has so far forbidden the use of more than 170 apps, claiming that they infringe user privacy as well as threaten the state information security. 

“China firmly opposes the actions taken by India,” Zhao Lijian, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented Wednesday on the issue at a press conference.

“Since June this year, India has used the so-called maintenance of national security as an excuse four times to ban mobile apps from China, which obviously violates the market principles and WTO rules as well as seriously damages the legitimate rights and interest of Chinese companies,” said the spokesman. 

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The Chinese embassy in India stated Wednesday to resolutely oppose the ban. E-commerce giant Alibaba, which is the biggest investor of Indian e-payment company Paytm and online grocery store BigBasket, has not responded to the issue. 

It currently remains unclear how the ban of the 43 apps would be carried out, but the previously banned apps such as TikTok are no longer available in Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store in India.