India’s ban on 59 major Chinese apps triggered new concerns for China and its companies with global ambitions.
In response to India’s decision, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the Indian Government has the responsibility to uphold the ‘legal rights’ of foreign investors and businesses.
Raising a serious concern, the Chinese Embassy appealed that ‘India should shun discriminatory actions considering mutual interests at the fundamental and bilateral front’.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the Chinese Government always asks its companies to abide by international rules and local laws as part of their foreign operations.
The Chinese Embassy said the Chinese side firmly opposes India’s action.
“India’s measure, selectively, and discriminatory aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security expectations, and violates WTO rules,” the Embassy spokesperson said in a statement.
The Chinese side also claims that India’s actions went against international trade rules and consumer interests.
The official also said the ban will also impact local employment around these apps and will also hit the livelihoods of many creators and entrepreneurs.
What Leading Tech Giants Say?
Following the ban, Tik Tok, Club Factory, and others decided to approach the Center to clarify the government’s claims.
Meanwhile, leading tech giants Apple and Google say they are yet to receive an official confirmation to remove all 59 apps on their platforms.
As the sources say, Apple received an order under Section 69A to ban Tik Tok and is yet to receive for the other 58 apps.
While Google also received removal orders for only 20 apps.
“We don’t implement orders based on mere press releases. We need clearly-defined instructions based on existing rules governing the content and app ecosystem,” says an executive.
Meanwhile, the IT Ministry has reportedly asked all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to remove all the banned apps and already-downloaded content related to them.
“The Government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking…and we are complying with it. We’ve been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders to respond and submit clarifications,” TikTok India Head Nikhil Gandhi said in a statement.
Impact on Chinese Firms
Digital economy experts say that the ban on these apps would have an impact, considering their millions of user base in India.
With no significant global competitors domestically due to strict Chinese regulations, Chinese companies enjoy high revenues at home.
These profits have helped them flourish across Indian and Southeast Asian markets, through direct investments or indirect operations.
According to market research reports, Chinese apps dominate Indian apps for a number of installs volume.
Chinese apps held 38 percent share of India’s top 200 apps in 2019, against 41 percent share of local apps.
Apps like enjoy more dominance with presence in 90-95 percent of smartphones in India, topping the Android ecosystem.
Data shows Indians spent 5.5 billion hours on TikTok in 2019, an increase from 900 million hours in 2018.
In 2019, TikTok downloads in India touched 323 million compared to Facebook’s 156 million across Apple and Android devices, shows the Sensor Tower Data report.
In December 2019 alone, the time Indians spent on TikTok was equal to the time that 11 countries combined.
Considering their global market share, the ban in India will only have some impact. But, “the big danger for them is if other countries follow in India’s footsteps,” says the founder of a tech start-up.