By Arré Bench Jun. 30, 2020
Chinese apps like TikTok and Shein were banned, according to the government, in a bid to protect the sovereignty and data of all Indians against the security risk that these Chinese apps pose. Some believe that it will also restrict the economic giant from cashing in on our country’s massive youth population.
In the last few weeks, tensions with China have continued to escalate, following clashes in Galwan district. On Monday, the government responded by banning 59 Chinese apps, including popular social media platforms like TikTok and shopping websites like Shein.
The Chinese apps were banned, according to the government, in a bid to protect the sovereignty, security, and data of all Indians.
For safety, security, defence, sovereignty & integrity of India and to protect data & privacy of people of India the Government has banned 59 mobile apps.
Jai Hind! 🇮🇳
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) June 29, 2020
The announcement created a storm on social media, with an outpouring of support for the ban countered by a wave of suspicion. Over the last 24 hours, several theories have also spawned over how this latest “digital strike” will affect the Chinese.
For some, including the government, the ban would protect Indians from the security risk that these Chinese apps pose, as well as restrict the economic giant from cashing in on our country’s massive youth population.
India bans nearly 60 Chinese apps. Cybersecurity experts have warned about the risks China’s apps & telecom companies may pose. Chinese laws hold companies legally responsible for providing access, cooperation or support for Beijing’s intel gathering:https://t.co/ML0MNRlTmy
— Maria Abi-Habib (@Abihabib) June 30, 2020
A few others took to Twitter to say the latest move would energise the Indian startup ecosystem, and hence was a long-term measure to reduce reliability on the Chinese.
This India-China app ban is huge. Separate from the geopolitical considerations, this is going to energize the Indian startup/founder ecosystem.
— Sriram Krishnan (@sriramk) June 30, 2020
But for some, including journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, the ban on Chinese apps wouldn’t make much difference to our neighbour, considering India didn’t feature in the top 10 revenue generators for TikTok anyway.
Reality check:Tik Tok ban: in US, app downloaded 165 million times, with revenues of over Rs 650 crore in 2019. China, with nearly 197 million users, contributed Rs 2,500 crore. India did not feature among top revenue generators, recording Rs 25 crore for quarter-ended Dec 2019
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) June 30, 2020
Columnist Tavleen Singh also noted that the ban wouldn’t do much in terms of defending the soldiers on the border. Another journalist, agreed, and indicated that it wasn’t a severe enough measure, and hence wouldn’t be as effective as claimed.
Now that Chinese apps have been banned will it scare Chinese soldiers into retreating from our territory?
— Tavleen Singh (@tavleen_singh) June 30, 2020
In December 2013, India removed US Embassy security barriers in Delhi and expelled their diplomat as retaliation for US misbehaving with one of it’s diplomats. It was done without TV channels being told to hysterically screech ‘unprecedented.’ It was swift and strong action.
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) June 29, 2020
On the other hand, journalist Rahul Kanwal said China would no longer be able to steal the data of Indian citizens, and that the ban would “hit them where it hurts most”.
Strongly back the idea of banning these 59 Chinese apps. Most were stealing data of Indian citizens. In any case China doesn’t allow international companies to run their apps in mainland China. Economic cooperation cannot be a one way street. Hit China where it hurts most. Jai Ho
— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) June 29, 2020
A few also took to social media to warn that China may be compelled to relaunch a number of these apps in India — this time, masking the nation of origin.
59apps banned. watch out for
– Farji clarifications from almost all of them
– Creation of backdoors or Ghost Cos to continue investment
– Sudden rise in Local investors funded by these Chinese entities
– Apps relaunching themselves with other names and masked nation of origin.
— Anand Narasimhan (@AnchorAnandN) June 30, 2020
The Global Times, a newspaper run by China’s ruling party, meanwhile said that the ban would end up hurting Indian startups instead, which would now lose out on Chinese investment.
Analysts say the #Indian government’s ban on 59 #apps developed by #Chinese companies will eventually hurt India’s technology and internet startups when they lose Chinese investment. https://t.co/vtoRBPbUcg pic.twitter.com/HCWu2k0euy
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 30, 2020
A Twitter comedian was also quick to warn us about getting too excited by the ban on Chinese apps…
टिक टॉक तो झांकी है,
ओला पेटीएम बाकी है
भक्त बनर्जी की चीन को चेतावनी⚡️💪🏽🔥 pic.twitter.com/CE0uQtuKg7
— Akash Banerjee (@TheDeshBhakt) June 29, 2020
Only time will tell which of these theories will end up being true, but Monday’s events have proven at least one thing beyond doubt — the stand-off between India and China isn’t about to deescalate soon.