Home >News >India >Bytedance’s TikTok, Helo disappear from Apple and Google’s app stores in India
Apps like TikTok, very popular in smaller towns and cities, have been used to spread fake news and create communal and caste tensions.  (Bloomberg)
Apps like TikTok, very popular in smaller towns and cities, have been used to spread fake news and create communal and caste tensions. (Bloomberg)

Bytedance’s TikTok, Helo disappear from Apple and Google’s app stores in India

  • The Indian government Monday banned 59 Chinese apps that it said threatened the country's sovereignty, security
  • The two countries will hold military-level talks today to ease the border standoff between them

NEW DELHI: Apple and Google seem to be responding to the government’s ban of 59 Chinese apps yesterday. Bytedance owned apps -- TikTok and Helo -- have disappeared from the App Store and Google Play. They could have delisted themselves voluntarily too, and not all apps in the government’s list have been taken off yet. Popular apps like AliBaba Group’s UC Browser and UC News, Bigo Technologies’ Likee, Xiaomi’s Mi community, Tencent owned WeChat, and e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein can still be found on the platforms.

Similarly document scanning app CamScanner, which is used widely in the country, also remains on the stores, as does role playing game Clash of Kings and most others in the list.

The 59 Chinese apps banned by the Indian government yesterday made up for 5% of total installs on India’s App Store and Google Play in Q2, 2020 so far, according to data from Sensor Tower independently sourced by Mint. The app marketing intelligence firm estimated that between them, the 59 apps have seen about 330 million installs in the country in Q2, 2020.

The numbers are down by about 21% from the last quarter when they saw 420 million downloads in the country. The firm also found that these apps have accrued approximately 4.9 billion downloads across the iOS and Android platforms between January 2014 and now. TikTok, Helo, U Video, UC Browser and VMate, which are all amongst the banned apps, are the top five most downloaded apps amongst them.

Of the 59 apps the government banned yesterday, 24 have over one million installs in the country in Q2, 2020 alone. Chinese apps have been quite popular in India, and Sensor Tower says that eight our of the 25 of the most downloaded apps in the country — on both iOS and Android — are from Chinese publishers.

As reported by Mint earlier, the apps will be banned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in India, a senior government official said last night. Users who already have the apps installed will stop receiving updates from them, the official said, which suggests that Google and Apple will be taking them off their respective app stores. The two companies haven’t yet confirmed the same yet.

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