India's second digital strike: 47 more Chinese mobile apps blocked

An email sent to the spokesperson for MeitY remained unanswered till the time of going to press.
After banning 59 mobile applications (apps), including TikTok, almost a month ago, the Indian government has initiated another digital strike of sorts. This time it has cracked down on 47 more ‘Chinese-origin’ mobile apps - most being clones or lite variants of the ones earlier banned.

The list could include the lite or alternative versions of apps such as TikTok Lite, SHAREit Lite, and Helo Lite, sources in the government said.

"The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has banned a second list of 47 apps, predominantly of Chinese origin, that were clones of the 59 apps banned last month," said an official.

An email sent to the spokesperson for MeitY remained unanswered till the time of going to press.

The ministry had earlier said it had received complaints about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms, for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting user data to servers located outside India, in an unauthorised manner.

Late last month, India had imposed a ban on 59 Chinese mobile apps, including the popular SHAREit, TikTok, UC Browser, and SHEIN, citing them as security threat.

The government invoked its powers under Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act and relevant provisions under IT Rules, 2009, to block these apps.

The fresh ban has been welcomed by several Indian app service providers.

Some have gone to the extent of pledging not to tap Chinese funds while remaining committed to user data privacy.

Sumit Ghosh, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of short video-sharing app Chingari, says the company - in talks to raise funds — has decided not to be beholden to  Chinese investors.

“We need to be very concerned about our data, and make sure it remains within India. We, at Chingari, have always been on top of this. Hence, we decided to never take any funds from China or use any of its technology in our app,” says Ghosh.

Chingari is being touted as the TikTok alternative in India and has seen over 25 million downloads so far.

Hyderabad-based short-video app Rizzle says data security is its topmost priority. “We are pleased to support millions of TikTok users with a positive and secure platform that will help them in enhancing their social presence while becoming financially independent. National security and citizen privacy will be a critical component Rizzle will abide by,” says Vidya Narayanan, CEO and co-founder, Rizzle.

It has been reported that around 275 apps of ‘Chinese origin’ are on the government’s radar. This list includes Tencent-funded PubG, AliExpress by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and Zili by smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi.

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