Google and Apple comply with India ban on Chinese apps

UC Browser
UC Browser (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Indian government has banned 59 Chinese-developed apps in the country.
  • Apple and Google have both complied with the ban.
  • The apps have been removed from both the App Store and Google Play Store.

Apple and Google have both complied with a government-enforced ban on Chinese apps in India, removing 59 apps from the App Store and Google Play Store.

As TechCrunch reports:

Two days after India blocked 59 apps developed by Chinese firms, Google and Apple have started to comply with New Delhi's order and are preventing users in the world's second largest internet market from accessing those apps.UC Browser, Shareit, and Club Factory and other apps that India has blocked are no longer listed on Apple's App Store and Google Play Store. In a statement, a Google spokesperson said that the company had "temporarily blocked access to the apps"on Google Play Store as it reviews New Delhi's interim order.

The bans stems from a political dispute between India and China, in particular conflict over the Line of Actual Control. From our previous explanatory piece:

This is the latest salvo in a series of barbs the two countries have traded over the course of the last two months. Back in May, Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed in a skirmish at Pangong Tso, a lake located in the Himalayas that sits along the line of control between the two countries. The ensuing tussle led to over a hundred soldiers being injured on both sides, with China claiming 23 square miles of Indian-patrolled territory in the Line of Actual Control (LAC).Now, the Line of Actual Control is a 2,175-mile stretch that sits between territories controlled by India and China. The conflict in the last two months was due to the fact that Chinese soldiers have encroached on this LAC, leading to several skirmishes. Things escalated on June 15 at the Galwan Valley when both sides faced off for six hours using improvised weapons like barbed-wire clubs. The skirmish led to 20 Indian fatalities — the first time the country faced casualties along this border in over 45 years.

The Indian government has called for a boycott of Chinese products, but has not ventured so far as to ban Chinese hardware. It has however banned 59 Chinese-developed apps including TikTok, ShareIt, Weibo, UC Browser and more, apps which have hundreds of millions of users in the country.

In its statement, the Indian government said the apps were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state, and public order."

As TechCrunch reports, both Apple and Google have complied with the ban, removing the listed apps from their respective stores. Apple did not comment on the move, Google said it had "temporarily blocked access" whilst it reviewed the interim order. According to the report, some developers, including ByteDance (which makes TikTok), have voluntarilty restricted access to their apps in India.

The move marks the latest turn in a series of escalations between the two countries, with no forseeable resolution in sight.

Stephen Warwick