28 Jul 2020

Over 250 More Chinese Apps Could Be Banned, Including PubG

PugB on list of over 250 Chinese apps that faces India ban

Reports at the India Times say the Indian government has drawn up a hitlist of 275 Chinese apps that could potentially be banned if they are found to pose a threat to national security and user privacy.

Geopolitical tensions between Indian and China are at the highest they have been in years following the clash on the Himalayan border which killed at least 20 Indian soldiers and made headlines across the world.

Indian responded by banning 59 Chinese apps citing security concerns. On the ban list was the popular short video app TikTok. According to the latest reports, gaming app PubG, the AliExpress shopping app, and apps like Resso and ULike could all face bans.

Those apps are all owned or backed by some of China's biggest tech names, including Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance, owner of TikTok.

"The government may ban all, some or none from the list", said one unnamed source. "Some of these apps have been red-flagged due to security reasons while others have been listed for violation of data sharing and privacy concerns", added an official quoted in the India Times.

TikTok had been incredibly popular in India, with 200 million registered users in the country and had been downloaded 660 million times since its launch two years ago, equivalent to 30% of its overall global downloads.

As of last week, Zili and Snack Video had moved into the top 10 list on Google Play, as TikTok fans looked for similar apps. Both are Chinese-owned.

India is also PubG's largest market, accounting for 24% of the gaming app's total downloads.

The country is not the only one looking at Chinese-owned tech with suspicion. Of concern to government's worldwide is China's data-sharing rule that requires companies of Chinese-origin to share data with the home country, irrespective of which countries they operate in.

In related news, earlier this month three men were arrested for playing poker using a Chinese app. It wasn't clear what the app was and whether it too faces a ban.

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