India on Monday banned 59 — mostly Chinese — mobile apps, including TikTok and WeChat over national security and privacy concerns just weeks after a deadly border clash between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
India’s Ministry of Information Technology said it was banning the apps after receiving “many complaints from various sources” about apps that were “stealing and transmitting users data” in an unauthorised manner.
The apps “are engaged in activities that can be a threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state and public order,” the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT) said in a statement.
India is TikTok’s biggest foreign market, with an estimated 120 million users.
TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is headquartered in Beijing. The parent company faced accusations for its involvement in data sharing with the Chinese government.
“TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and have not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government,” said the company on Tuesday.
In the United States, strong critics, including some senators have called for an investigation into the Chinese company.
The list of apps banned by India also includes the microblogging platform Weino, the strategy game Clash of Kings, Alibaba’s UC browser, and e-commerce apps Club Factory and Shein.
The banning of TikTok invites a flood of hilarious tweets on Twitter and users are wondering why PUBG is not being banned by the government which is an extremely popular Chinese gaming app.
China says it is concerned about India’s decision to ban Chinese mobile apps and was making checks to verify the situation. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Tuesday that India has a responsibility to uphold the rights of Chinese businesses.
“We want to stress that the Chinese government always asks the Chinese businesses to abide by international and local laws and regulations,” he said.