‘Violates Interests of Investors’: China Opposes India’s App Ban

India’s Ministry of Information & Technology on Wednesday banned 118 Chinese mobile apps, including ‘PUBG’ in India.

4 min read
‘Violates Interests of Investors’: China Opposes India’s App Ban

China on Thursday, 3 September, urged the Indian government to rectify ‘discriminatory practices’ of blocking Chinese mobile apps with the ‘excuse’ of “national security”, after India’s move to ban 118 apps on Wednesday.

Spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, Ji Rong said “we urge the Indian government to rectify discriminatory practices of violating WTO rules and provide an open, fair & impartial business environment for all market players from various countries including China”.

Earlier on Thursday, China strongly opposed the ban on 118 mobile apps by India, saying Indian actions violate the legal interests of Chinese investors and service providers, news agency Reuters reported.

China asks India to correct its mistakes, the country’s Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said, according to the report.

India's Ministry of Information and Technology on Wednesday banned 118 Chinese mobile apps, including 'PUBG', in India, a press release by the ministry notified.

The government blocked 118 mobile apps which it said are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

The banned apps include PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik, PUBG MOBILE LITE, WeChat Work and WeChat Reading, among others.

What Did the Ministry Order Say?

“The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms, for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to services which have locations outside India. The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the press release by the ministry had said.

Here is the full list of apps banned:

Earlier on 29 June, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had banned 59 apps, including TikTok, ShareIt, and UC Browser, which had a huge subscriber base in India.

The ban on these apps comes amid India-China border tensions over the situation in Ladakh.

‘Technology and Geopolitical Matters Becoming Two Strands of a Braid’: Experts

Reacting to the ban, several industry experts told The Quint that while data protection is becoming very much important, the latest ban is also opening up opportunities for Indian developers.

“Whether 59 apps are banned or 118, all this underscores how technology and geopolitical matters are becoming two strands of a braid. GoI has the power to do so under Section 69A of the IT Act but it’s a mere stopgap measure. The data protection law, conspicuous by its absence has never been more important than now. We must ensure that people are protected and they are not reduced to pawns in the data game,” Mishi Choudhary, a technology lawyer practicing in the US and India, told The Quint.

Piyush, CEO and Founder, Rooter, an online sports fan community, said that the ban helps align the Indian gaming ecosystem with the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat strategy.

“This ban opens up tremendous opportunities for the Indian gaming ecosystem to align their businesses with the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat strategy and also enable gaming and eSports platforms like Rooter to grow even faster from here.
We at Rooter always anticipated this to happen in the near future and so we kept on investing in other games. Most of the users and content creators on our platform engage in games other than PUBG. Rooter had less than 10 percent PUBG streamers and it was a conscious effort on our part to ensure that we focus more on other games like Free Fire and Call of Duty. Both the games have strong engagement on Rooter and most of their top streamers are part of our user base,” he said.

“That said, in the last two-and-a-half months, Rooter has witnessed unprecedented growth by adding nearly 3 million users. This ban will further fuel the growth, which will help us become a dominant player in the market,” he added.

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