A Himalayan border dispute between the world’s two most-populated countries—China and India—turned deadly last month when fighting left 20 Indian soldiers dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties. As tensions continue to rise, India has banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, over national security concerns.
India’s Ministry of Information Technology writes that it has received many complaints about apps stealing and surreptitiously transmitting data to servers outside of the country, thereby threatening the “national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India.” There’s no mention of China in the statement, but every app is Chinese-made.
The list of 59 banned apps includes TikTok, which counts India as its biggest overseas market. The video-sharing social network is the most-downloaded app in the country, where it has over 200 million monthly users.
Apps from Xiaomi, India’s top smartphone vendor, appear on the list. WeChat, UC Browser, Shareit, and Baidu Map have also been banned.
According to a mobile insights firm (via TechCrunch), the ban will affect around one in three mobile users within India, with 27 of the 59 among the top 1,000 Android apps in the country during June.
It’s unclear how India will enforce the ban, though it may involve asking Google and Apple to stop making them available to download. TikTok has issued a statement saying it is in the process of complying with the Indian government’s order.
Last month, an app designed to detect and remove Chinese-made apps went viral in India, but it was quickly removed from the Play Store for violating Google’s Deceptive Behaviour Policy.