Home Information Technology Act 2000 A dreadful 2020 for Chinese Apps

A dreadful 2020 for Chinese Apps

Due to an engagement between the Chinese and Indian troops in aggressive melee, face-offs and skirmishes at locations along the borders since first quarter of the year, the Indian Government has taken measures to minimize their relations with China. The government is considering trade and procurement curbs targeting China. It is also increasing scrutiny of Chinese investments in many sectors.

In the latest order from the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) more 43 apps were banned, coming to a total of 267 apps having links with China which have been banned under Section 69A of Information Technology Act. These include big names from social media and gaming platform such as TikTok, PUBG Mobile, AliExpress, WeChat and so on. The MeitY claimed the apps were engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of the country and security of state and public order. The government also alleged these services collected data which had nothing to do with the service it provided and sent it to servers located outside of India.

TikTok is a video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Beijing based company. The social media platform is used to make a variety of short-form videos from genres like dance, comedy and education, thereby giving recognition to artists. TikTok being one of the apps banned, it is anticipating a loss of more than $6 billion as India was its biggest overseas market with more than 100 million users. Those supporting the app were called and some were labelled as anti-national.

WeChat also had millions of users in India. UC Browser was all set to beat Google Chrome. The famous and addictive game known of PUBG Mobile has an immense user base in India. Although the game is owned by a South Korean gaming company called BlueHole, it’s mobile version is developed by Tencent which is a Chinese multinational company. After this ban, China could be looking at a total loss of ₹ 5,000 crores.

The crackdown on Chinese technology leaves a huge gap to fill for the industry, thus presenting opportunities for both Indian and U.S. tech firms. PM Modi’s main objective is self-reliance. From defense to e-commerce, he doesn’t want India to fully rely on any foreign country. Following the various initiatives like ‘Make in India’ or ‘Vocal for Local’ taken to boycott Chinese goods, China’s export to India had fallen 24.7 % as compared to previous year. The share of Chinese smartphones companies in the Indian market fell from 81 % to 71% in just few months, although One Plus being a major player in the market.

Meanwhile, India has proved popular for Facebook and its WhatsApp messaging service, as well as Google’s Android and YouTube video platform. As soon as India banned Chinese apps, Google pledged a $10 billion investment in the India Digitization Fund before investing another $4.5 billion in Jio Platforms. Facebook soon followed Google in investing $5.7 billion in Jio.

Moreover, losing Indian market would come at a time when the Chinese economy is facing its own challenges in the wake of the pandemic and facing increasing barriers in many Western countries.

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This article is written by Shaily Garg, a Fourth year B.Com. LLB (Hons.) Student of University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh.