China says it is “concerned” about India’s app ban

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters on Tuesday that the government was “very concerned” about the ban. He added that the authorities were still “verifying and verifying information on the situation.”

India announced on Monday that it would block 59 Chinese applications, including TikTok, Weibo and WeChat, alleging that the platforms posed a threat to “India’s sovereignty and integrity, India’s defense, state security and public order.”
WeChat, a messaging app owned by the Chinese tech giant Tencent (TCEHY), is one of the largest social media apps in China. Weibo is a microblogging platform similar to Twitter.

The move is the latest indication of mounting tensions between India and China, which participated earlier this month in border clashes in the Himalayas that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.

The confrontation has already caused hiccups in international trade, business suspension and a boycott of Chinese goods and citizens in India. Last week, several trade organizations said Chinese shipments were being held at Indian checkpoints.

The commercial relationship between the two is vital, since India imports more products from China than any other country. Now the dispute is spreading to technology.

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a statement on Monday that it had received many complaints about the misuse and transmission of user data by some mobile applications to servers outside of India.

“The collection of this data, its extraction and profiling by elements hostile to national security and the defense of India … is a matter of very deep and immediate concern that requires emergency measures,” the agency said.

TikTok ban undermines ByteDance in one of the world's largest digital markets

TikTok, the hugely popular video platform owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, has been downloaded to Indian phones 660 million times since its launch in 2017, according to analyst firm Sensor Tower.

This is not the first time that TikTok has encountered problems in India. The app was briefly blocked in the country last year after a court ruled it could expose children to sexual predators, pornography, and cyberbullying. It was later reinstated after a successful legal appeal.

“The Chinese government always calls on Chinese companies to comply with international standards and local laws and regulations in their trade cooperation with foreign countries,” Zhao said on Tuesday.

However, he added, “the Indian government has a responsibility to uphold the legitimate rights of international investors, including Chinese.”

– Rishi Iyengar contributed to this report.