NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has banned some mobile apps of Chinese companies such as Xiaomi Corp and Baidu Inc, three sources told Reuters on Wednesday, in New Delhi’s latest move to hit Chinese companies following a border clash between the neighbours.
India in June outlawed 59 Chinese apps for threatening the country’s “sovereignty and integrity”, including ByteDance’s video-sharing app TikTok, Alibaba’s UC Browser and Xiaomi’s Mi Community app.
Another ban was imposed in recent weeks on about 47 apps which mostly contained clones, or simply different versions, of the already banned apps, the sources said.
Unlike its June move, the government did not make its latest decision public, but there are a few new apps that have made it to that list, including Xiaomi’s Mi Browser Pro and Baidu’s search apps, the sources said.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many new apps have been affected.
India’s IT Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi did not respond to a request for comment. China has previously criticized India’s decision to ban the apps.
A spokesman for Xiaomi in India said the company was trying to understand the development and will take appropriate measures. Baidu declined to comment.
A ban on the Mi Browser, which comes pre-loaded on most Xiaomi smartphones, could potentially mean the Chinese firm will need to stop installing it on new devices it sells in India.
Xiaomi is India’s No.1 smartphone seller with close to 90 million users, according to Hong Kong-based tech researcher Counterpoint.
The bans are part of India’s moves to counter China’s dominant presence in the country’s internet services market following a border clash in June between the two nuclear-armed neighbours in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
India has also made approval processes more stringent for Chinese companies wanting to invest in the country, and also tightened norms for Chinese companies wanting to participate in government tenders.
(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal and Aditya Kalra, additional reporting by Yingzhi Yang; Editing by Kim Coghill)