India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a statement on Monday that it had received many complaints about the misuse and transmission of user data by some mobile applications to servers outside of India.
"The compilation of this data, its extraction and profiling by elements hostile to national security and the defense of India, which ultimately affects the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of deep and immediate concern that requires emergency measures, "the ministry said. he said, listing 59 apps, including many prominent Chinese that will be subject to the ban.
While the Indian government statement did not mention China by name, the ban comes as military tensions between the two countries continue to escalate after deadly border clashes earlier this month that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead. Many Indians have called for a boycott of Chinese goods and services, particularly of China's dominant technology industry.
"There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against applications that harm India's sovereignty and the privacy of our citizens," added the government. Other popular Chinese apps on the list include the video game Clash of Kings, WeChat messaging app, Weibo social network and CamScanner photo app.
TikTok, the hugely popular video platform owned by Chinese tech giant Bytedance, has approximately 120 million users in India, making the country one of its largest markets.
Building local management teams in countries like India has been "critical to our global success," a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement.
"The ByteDance team of some 2,000 employees in India is committed to working with the government to demonstrate our dedication to user safety and our commitment to the country as a whole," the statement said.
This is not the first time that TikTok has had problems with the Indian government. The app was briefly blocked in India last year after a court ruled it could expose children to sexual predators, pornography, and cyberbullying. The application was reinstated a week later after successfully appealing the court's decision.
While India's diplomatic tensions with China are beginning to have a negative effect on business and technology, a full decoupling may be easier said than done. China dominates the massive Internet market in India, the second largest in the world, with nearly 600 million users, both in hardware and software. Chinese companies like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus represent more than half of the Indian smartphone market, according to industry figures, and Chinese tech giants. Alibaba (SLIME) and Tencent (TCEHY) They are important investors in some of the most valuable startups in the country.
However, the ban will be "a severe blow to the Chinese application industry that is losing a strong installed base outside of its home country." according
to research firm Canalys.