NEW DELHI: The 59 Chinese apps banned by the government on Monday will be blocked by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in India, and users who have downloaded them will not receive updates, a senior government official said. While that sounds a lot like the government’s ban on porn websites, which also happens through ISPs, it's unclear what “not getting updates" mean.
It's likely that Apple and Google won't be allowed to list the apps on their app stores in the country. Banning through ISPs though means that using virtual private networks (VPNs) may still let users access these apps and services.
Mint has written to both Apple and Google for confirmation on this. This story will be updated to reflect the same when they respond.
The ban includes big names like social media apps TikTok, Vigo Video and Helo, both of which are owned by Chinese Bytedance. Singapore-based Bigo Technologies’ Likee app is also going to be banned. Between TikTok, Vigo Video and Helo, Bytedance commands a user base of over 300 million Indians.
TikTok of course takes the lion’s share of this, having over 200 million users in India. Helo reported 50 million monthly active users in June last year and has been growing ever since. Vigo Video, on the other hand, was headed for a shutdown. On June 15, Bytedance had said it would shut down Vigo Video and Vigo Lite and would be transitioning its users to TikTok.
The government’s ban also includes apps like UC Browser and UC News, which are owned by the Alibaba Group. The web browser had over 130 million users in the country back in 2018 while the news aggregation apps is also quite common amongst users here.
Other popular apps include CamScanner, which many use for scanning documents and Tencent owned WeChat. Top smartphone seller Xiaomi’s Mi Community app have also been banned. The entire list includes:
7.Clash of Kings
8.DU battery saver
31.Mi Video Call – Xiaomi
33.ES File Explorer
34.Viva Video – QU Video Inc
37.New Video Status
40.Cache Cleaner DU App studio
43.Hago Play With New Friends
45.Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile
54.QQ Security Center
57.V fly Status Video