India Bans TikTok and Nearly 60 Other Chinese Apps

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The Indian government has banned over 60 Chinese mobile apps. Among them, TikTok, the popular video-sharing platform. India cited national security concerns after a deadly military clash between the two countries earlier this month. The skirmish has raised tension between the world’s two most populous nations.

Growing Hostility

Previously, the long-standing rivalry between the two nuclear powers was more of a cold war. Armed conflict has been rare. But two weeks ago, violence erupted along the shared border between China and India. Both countries had postured for weeks. Each side increased military presence and flaunted weapons at the border.

Then on June 16, 2020, the posturing sparked actual violence that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese casualties. And while India vowed to retaliate, its economic and military power pales in comparison to China. This week, India began its plot to undermine its neighbor’s digital power.

Virtual Boycott

China’s telecommunication and social network companies have long viewed India as a fertile market. About 50 percent of India’s 1.3 billion citizens have access to the internet.

In its ploy to punish China and cripple its economic power, India has now banned 60 Chinese-owned mobile apps including TikTok. Nearly a third of worldwide TikTok users live in India. WeChat, UC Browser, Shareit, and Baidu Maps are among other discontinued apps.

But the Indian government is not just trying to hurt the Chinese economy. It sites national security concerns as well. Chinese apps were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data,” says the Indian government. Accordingly, cutting off Indians from Chinese apps is intended to protect their data from mis-use by their neighbor.

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