India Bans 54 More Chinese Apps, Cites Security Concerns
We report on India’s decision to ban more Chinese apps in the country due to security risks and list the names of the 54 apps banned. We also provide a timeline of India’s announcements to ban Chinese mobile apps.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) announced a ban of 54 more Chinese apps on February 14, 2022. India has banned a total of 321 Chinese apps since May-June 2020, when border relations began deteriorating.
Why have the latest batch of Chinese apps been banned in India?
The decision to ban the apps was requested by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) due to security risks cited under the emergency provision of Section 69(A) of the IT Act.
In a public statement explaining the move, MeitY stated: “These 54 apps allegedly obtain various critical permissions and collects sensitive user data. These collected real-time data are being misused and transmitted to servers located in hostile country. This will enable them to compile huge personal data to mine, collate, analyse and profile by the elements who are hostile to the sovereignty and integrity of India and for activities detrimental to national security… In addition there are other serious concerns as some of these apps can carry out espionage and surveillance activities via camera/mic, accessing fine location (GPS) and do malicious network activity similar to previously blocked apps.”
Meanwhile, on the other side, China has continued to rein in its technology industry, particularly covering areas of antitrust, storage and collection of personal information of Chinese citizens, data and algorithm security, and fintech regulation. A spate of laws, implementing regulations, and cybersecurity review measures have been released besides anti-monopoly investigations (see here to track China’s regulation of its technology companies and the platform economy).
Timeline of app bans
- India blocked 59 apps on June 29, 2020, including ByteDance’s video-sharing app TikTok, Tencent’s WeChat, and Alibaba’s UC Browser.
- On August 10, 2020, India banned 47 related/cloning apps.
- On September 1, 2020, 118 apps were blocked.
- A further 43 apps were blocked on November 19, 2020.
- 54 more Chinese apps banned as on February 14, 2022.
List of 54 apps banned as on February 14, 2022
The list of 54 Chinese apps banned by India are reportedly as follows:
- APUS Security HD (Pad Version)
- Barcode Scanner – QR Code Scan
- Beauty Camera – Selfie Camera
- Beauty Camera: Sweet Selfie HD
- CamCard for SalesForce Ent
- Conquer Online
- Conquer Online – MMORPG Game
- CuteU Pro
- CuteU: Match With The World
- Dual Space – 32Bit Support
- Dual Space – 64Bit Support
- Dual Space Lite – Multiple Accounts & Clone App
- Dual Space Pro – 32Bit Support
- Dual Space Pro – Multiple Accounts & App Cloner
- DualSpace Lite – 32Bit Support
- Equalizer – Bass Booster & Volume EQ & Virtualizer
- Equalizer & Bass Booster – Music Volume EQ
- Equalizer Pro – Volume Booster & Bass Booster
- EVE Echoes
- Extraordinary Ones
- FancyU – Video Chat & Meetup
- FancyU pro – Instant Meetup through Video chat!
- FunChat Meet People Around You
- Garena Free Fire – Illuminate
- Isoland 2: Ashes of Time Lite
- Lica Cam – selfie camera app
- Live Weather & Radar – Alerts
- MoonChat: Enjoy Video Chats
- MP3 Cutter – Ringtone Maker & Audio Cutter
- Music Player – Equalizer & MP3
- Music Player – MP3 Player
- Music Player – Music, MP3 Player
- Music Plus – MP3 Player
- Nice video baidu
- Notes – Color Notepad, Notebook
- Onmyoji Arena
- Onmyoji Chess
- Parallel Space Lite 32 Support
- RealU Lite -video to live!
- RealU: Go Live, Make Friends
- Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade
- SmallWorld-Enjoy groupchat and video chat
- Stick Fight: The Game Mobile
- Tencent Xriver
- Twilight Pioneers
- UU Game Booster-network solution for high ping
- Video Player Media All Format
- Viva Video Editor – Snack Video Maker with Music
- Voice Recorder & Voice Changer
- Volume Booster – Loud Speaker & Sound Booster
- Wink: Connect Now
Chinese investments into India have also either been stalled, blocked, or subject to increased security clearance
Chinese investments in India have also stalled since geopolitical tensions erupted in 2020, making New Delhi wary of China’s presence in sensitive sectors and a source of bulk of funding for tech start-ups. As per a report by Gateway House, “over the five years ending March 2020, 18 of India’s 30 unicorns [were] now Chinese-funded.”
In April 2020, the Indian government officially revised its foreign direct investment (FDI) policy vis-à-vis its neighbors, including China, to prevent opportunistic takeovers of local firms during the pandemic. This was reiterated in the Consolidated FDI Policy, 2020 that came into effect October 15, 2020. All Chinese investment proposals now have to undergo mandatory security clearances.
In November 2021, The Economic Times reported that over 100 proposals were awaiting clearance from the government, with around a quarter of them worth over US$10 million each.
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