The Galwan Valley skirmish in Ladakh between India & China is showing its effects with every passing day. With the growing outrage over China and call for boycott of Chinese goods by citizens themselves, GOI is listening to the public sentiments, and rightly so. GOI is trying to hit the Communist Regime where it hurts the most, i.e. economy/business. After the initial ban on 59 Chinese apps which included giants like TikTok and CamScanner, GOI bans 47 more Chinese apps, most of which are clones of the earlier banned apps.
The list contains apps like Tiktok Lite, Helo Lite, SHAREit Lite, and BIGO LIVE Lite, which are actually clones of apps that were previously banned by The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. This comes in light after the government had also imposed restrictions on Chinese contractors in government tenders. Infrastructure projects saw the first restrictions which got the ball rolling. Indian app developers & firms have welcomed this move and agree with the data privacy concerns cited by the government. The ban has also given a new life to those Indian apps which were direct competitors of those banned Chinese apps.
List of previously banned 59 Chinese apps: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetailm.aspx?PRID=1635206
More apps under scrutiny
GOI banned 47 more Chinese Apps, and simultaneously drew a list of 275 more Chinese apps,. These apps will be scrutinized for data privacy breech and potential threats to national security. The list contains app giants like PUBG Mobile which is backed by Tencent and AliExpress of Alibaba Group. This announcement has raised the speculation that more app bans are in the pipeline. Sources in the Ministry also stated that the government is working on a plan which would formalize such bans in India. The main reason cited by the government during the previous bans is that those apps were engaged in activities which undermined the national security, sovereignty and integrity of the Indian State.
Growing Negativity for China
With the new strategic partnership between India & US, we saw how US has also agreed with all these steps taken by GOI. The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo have already praised the decisions taken by Indian Govt. to ban Chinese apps several times. It now seems that the US is also taking a page out of the GOI text-book, and sources have said that the US govt. is also looking to ban TikTok. It would be a complete destruction of TikTok if US goes ahead with this ban. Having lost its second biggest market after China, i.e. India, TikTok is already facing huge financial losses. The potential US ban also comes into light with the US government recently asking the Communist Regime of China to close its consulate in Houston after charges of ‘stealing’ intellectual property. Many Geo-politics experts are claiming that this was an ‘unprecedented escalation’. China also retaliated by asking US to close its consulate in Chengdu. Experts say this is a very ‘Cold War’ style diplomacy and it seems things would not cool down in the near future.
A Possible Way-Out
With these bans and scrutiny, companies are trying to find a way out. For example, sources say PUBG is working on a plan to create data-centers in India. If the data remains in the country, these companies could mitigate the risk of getting banned. PUBG has a huge market in India, and with a growing Indian mobile gaming market, companies would not want to get off this bandwagon. Some of them are trying to bring in investors other than Chinese. Take for example TikTok might sell its US arm to a US company. Sources say Microsoft is interested in buying TikTok US. This might probably save TikTok from a potential ban in US. Surely, apps like PUBG Mobile, which are backed by Chinese companies like Tencent would not want to lose a market like India, and therefore would want to take proactive measures like shifting/creating data centers to/in India, a measure TikTok couldn’t take on time. It should be mentioned that TikTok has been involved in a lot of controversy since last year with allegations of not moderating its content even after several complaints.
With the Communist Regime of China not slowing down its expansionist agenda and growing conflict with 17 neighbouring countries, followed by a debt-driven over-ambitious Belt and Road Initiative as well as CPEC, things do not look easy for China in the coming future. With US & UK already throwing Huawei out of its 5G infrastructure development program, it is highly likely that other countries will follow suit. It has to be seen now how many of these 275 apps which are under scrutiny, end up getting banned. For those who are strangely feeling bad about these bans in India, should know that most of their favourite apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, are banned by the Communist Regime of China. Even Indian IT companies like TCS & Infosys have a hard time doing business in there. Is it not fare then, to reciprocate the same? Food for thought.
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