India, which blocked 59 apps developed by Chinese firms late last month on the grounds that they pose a threat to nation’s security, has banned an additional 47 apps.
The nation’s Ministry of Electronics and IT’s new ban order, issued on late Friday according to a person familiar with the matter, is aimed at those apps that were facilitating access to previously banned services such as TikTok and Cam Scanner. The new apps to be banned includes Cam Scanner Advance, and customized lite versions of Helo and ShareIt. New Delhi is expected to release the full list of apps today.
The ban on 59 apps that impacted TikTok, WeChat, ShareIt, and UC Browser late last month by India, the world’s second largest internet market, was seen as the latest standoff between the world’s two most populated nations.
Anti-China sentiment has been gaining mindshare in India in recent months and it escalated when more than 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a military clash in the Himalayas last month. TikTok, Club Factory and UC Browser and other apps put together had more than 500 million monthly active users in May, according to one of the top mobile insight firms.
The move today comes as the Indian government contemplates restricting access to several more Chinese apps and services. Local media outlets including The Economic Times and India Today reported on Monday that New Delhi was reviewing an additional 275 apps — mostly developed by Chinese firms — including ByteDance’s Resso music streaming service, Ali Express and mobile game PUBG — though it has not reached a decision yet.
Scores of Indian startups have rushed to fill the void left by the ban on popular Chinese services in recent weeks. InMobi Group’s Roposo and Twitter-backed Sharechat say they have amassed millions of new users this month.
But the biggest beneficiary of the ban in India has been Facebook, according to Kantar. The research firm estimated that both Facebook’s marquee service and Instagram, which launched its Reels feature in India earlier this month, have witnessed a 30% surge in user engagements in the country in recent weeks.