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.”
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 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, 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.
“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.