India has prepared a new list of 275 Chinese apps to find out any possible violation of national security and user privacy, having banned 47 new Chinese apps on Monday that were acting as the clones of the previously banned 59 apps including highly popular short video app TikTok.
According to various media reports, the list that the Indian government has made includes gaming app PUBG, 14 applications by Xiaomi, which is India’s largest handset maker; and AliExpress by ecommerce giant Alibaba among others.
India is the largest market for gaming app PUBG, according to app intelligence company Sensor Tower. India accounts for 24% of the total downloads of the gaming app globally.
Helsinki-based Supercell is also a part of this list since it has investments by Chinese technology companies like Tencent.
India had previously banned Netherlands-based WeTransfer, citing national interest related concerns.
Government officials familiar with the matter told the Economic Times that the government authorities are already reviewing the origin of these apps and their funding.
These officials said that China’s data-sharing law requires Chinese-origin companies to share data with the government, thereby there is a need to examine the flow of data from these Chinese apps to China in case there is a possibility of a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India.
“Some of these apps have been red-flagged due to security reasons while others have been listed for violation of data sharing and privacy concerns,” an official was quoted as saying by the publication.
The Indian government had in June banned 59 Chinese apps amid heightened geopolitical tensions between both countries.
To ban these apps, India had evoked emergency powers under the Information Technology Act 2000, including provisions under Section 66A of the law.
All these applications were given three weeks notice to respond to the government’s queries.
The deadline to respond to queries is expiring this week.
The government, which has previously imposed restrictions on foreign direct investment from Chinese companies through the automatic route, last week further tightened rules for Chinese companies to bid for government contracts in the field of turbines, telecom equipment, and power infrastructure among others.
India has already banned Chinese telecom gear vendors like Huawei and ZTE from supplying equipment to state-run telco BSNL
As per industry estimates, Chinese apps have deep penetration in the Indian market with around 300 million unique users. Around two-thirds of smartphone users in the country have downloaded a Chinese app.
Notably, the Indian government has also launched an app innovation challenge for Indian start-up and developers to build a strong ecosystem for Indian apps. The program was launched by the country’s IT ministry along with NITI Aayog.