India has banned 118 mobile applications of Chinese origin, including the highly popular game PUBG Mobile and messaging app WeChat.
The news adds to the list of 59 apps that were banned in June, including hit social media app TikTok, as political tensions between India and China continue to rise.
According to a written statement issued by the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology, the apps were banned because they “are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of state and public order.”
Government Blocks 118 Mobile Apps Which are Prejudicial to Sovereignty and Integrity of India, Defence of India, Security of State and Public Order.Press Release issued by @GoI_MeitY regarding blocking of 118 mobile apps https://t.co/VyahsHR5f0September 2, 2020
The statement adds that the department has, “received many complaints from various sources including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India”.
Though the Indian government chose to invoke its power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act to ban these apps, it is not the first time that it has taken such a drastic step.
After banning the initial 59 apps in June, the agencies decided to block 47 more apps that were either copies or lite versions of some of these popular applications. This time, however, both the primary as well as the lite apps have been banned in one go.
Chinese firm Tencent appears to be bearing the brunt of India’s ban, with three of its major investments in the app world being impacted. Besides WeChat, the Chinese company also owned TikTok, as well as partnering with the developers of PUBG to launch its mobile version.
However, on another front, Tencent also pumped in $40 million (roughly Rs.300 crore) in a fresh round of funding into India’s popular music and podcast streaming platform Gaana.
The latest round comes about two years after Tencent had let a $115 million round in Gaana, which completes with the likes of JioSaavn, Spotify, YouTube Music and Wynk. The Chinese tech giant has participated in the latest round through its European entity Tencent Cloud BV.