The Indian government has issued fresh notices to permanently ban 59 Chinese apps, calling them "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order." The list includes ByteDance's popular video-sharing app TikTok, Helo, Tencent Holdings' WeChat, Alibaba's UC Browser and UC News, Shein, Club Factory, Likee, Bigo Live, Kwai, Clash of Kings and CamScanner, and others.
Because of this, ByteDance has decided to close its office in India and significantly reduce its staff. ByteDance does not know if the company can resume work in India. It will lay off more than 1,800 employees in the next two weeks.
In 2019, the Chinese company planned to invest about $1 billion into financing its operations in India. However, last year, India’s government blocked TikTok and about 100 other apps that were developed in China.
Back in June, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) imposed a ban on 59 Chinese apps. At that time, the Indian government gave those apps a chance to explain their position on compliance with privacy and security requirements. The Indian government was not satisfied with the given explanation regarding issues with data collection and user privacy, so the ban became permanent.
India has banned more than 200 apps amid an unprecedented escalation in a border row with China. The first banns were announced after 20 Indian soldiers were killed with Chinese troops on June 15. In September, India banned 118 more apps, including Tencent’s PUBG, a popular video game. In November, the Indian government blocked several dating and social media apps like WeDate, AliExpress, CamCard, etc. All the apps were banned under section 69A of the Information Technology Act.
Diplomatic and military dialogues to resolve the border standoff between India and China have not been successful so far.