A recent app called Remove China Apps is rapidly becoming popular in India. It doesn’t attract users by unique page design and innovative product features, just because it scans users’ phones, lists Chinese apps, and lets users decide to keep or uninstall them.
Two weeks on the line, Remove China Apps has been on Google Play’s overall list, scoring 4.9 points and garnering more than 200,000 reviews. But after a brief stint, The Leave China Apps was released by Google Play on June 2, and its developer, OneTouchAppLabs, confirmed the news on Twitter.
Unsurprisingly, another app, Mitron, has also sparked a war of words on social media such as Twitter. Mitron labeled TikTok, similar in product design and functionality. A number of Indian users have abandoned TikTok’s embrace of Mitron after they hit a star on Google Play over the inappropriate content of TikTok. This allowed Mitron to gain 5 million downloads in just one month, and quickly became popular.
The popularity of both apps and the resulting public opinion events have nothing to do with the recent social panic in India caused by the outbreak, and the rise of anti-China sentiment in the country. When the resistance spread to the internet industry, it was also true that Chinese developers who went out to sea “squeezed sweat”. In such cases, there is a clear need for better preparation on issues such as content review.
India, the world’s second-largest mobile Internet market, has no doubt released some bad signals by boycotting Chinese Internet products.
Since last month, a large number of Indian users have been starring in Google Play after a TikTok blogger uploaded a video of a sulphuric acid attack and mocked the victim. Many users began expressing anger and resistance with the hashtags “BanTikTok #IndiansAgainstTikTok, arguing that some of the videos in TikTok encourageracism, domestic violence, and so on. TikTok’s rating on Google Play dropped to 1.3 at one point, and it only after Google officially deleted some hate speech comments.
However, the “boycott made in China” voice is often seen on Indian social media, and some well-known opinion leaders are also guiding public opinion.
On oneTouchAppLabs, the development team wrote, “Thanks to Sonam Wangchuk for its contribution to driving manufacturing in India.” Sonam Wangchuk, a well-known Indian engineer and educator (and archetype of the Three Silly Bollywood characters), once called for “a week to give up using Chinese software, to give up using Chinese hardware within a year, and to boycott all Chinese-made products.” “
The website mentions that the product was developed for educational purposes and only helps users identify the source of an app’s development, not to encourage or force users to uninstall any one app.
But how to define a “China App”, Remove China Apps is not accurate and does not give an answer. For example,media said, “Users after testing found that video conferencing software Zoom is also in the list, its founder is Chinese, does it mean that Zoom is a Chinese app?” “Some one people said, “I installed it on the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and only detected six ‘China Apps’, and a lot of Xiaomi pre-installed apps weren’t detected.” “
Apparently Google Play doesn’t buy its claim that it’s “for educational purposes.” According to TechCrunch, Remove China Apps violates Google Play’s Deceptive Behavior policy, which prohibits apps from changing users’ device settings and features outside of apps without their consent, or encourages users to remove and disable third-party apps.
Mitron was one of many “beneficiaries” during the Indian internet user’s boycott of the China app. Many users abandoned TikTok and downloaded Mitron as an alternative app, which gave Mitron 5 million downloads in just one month.
But many professionals don’t like Mitron.
According to The Journal, Mitron has a security vulnerability. For example, users can authorize Google accounts to log in to Mitron, but developers do not set a token key for authentication when using authorization, resulting in hackers simply accessing any user’s profile through a public user ID without entering a password.
However, Mitron and Remove China Apps have been sent off even more to anger disgruntled Indian users. “Mitron is understandably removed from the shelves because of copyright and security issues. But Remove China Apps is a great app that helps remove a lot of spam, and we need it to help resist and remove Chinese apps. One Twitter user wrote.
Made in India
But some more rational Indian users say it is unrealistic to get rid of Chinese-made products unless they don’t use Chinese-branded handsets altogether. Xiaomi, Red Rice, OPPO, and vivo account for more than 60% of India’s market in 2019.
With the popularity of smartphones in India and the maturation of the domestic consumer Internet, Chinese manufacturers are going out to sea to bring apps to India. NewsDog, for example, captured India’s “multilingual” character and was successful by translating from the First English version in 2016 into 10 mainstream native Indian languages.
According to FactorDaily data at the beginning of 2019, 44 of India’s top 100 Android apps were developed by Chinese companies, up from 18 a year ago. According to Sensor Tower, five of India’s top 10 apps in 2018 are from China.
Not only are Chinese apps rooted in India, but Chinese capital also occupies half of India’s unicorns. Alibaba has invested in fintech company Paytm, takeaway company Zomato, logistics company Xpressbees, and another giant, Tencent, has invested in takeaway company Swiggy, Ola, the fintech company, and others.
But the Indian government has recently tightened its investment policy towardindia, requiring all neighbouring countries to approve investment spending in India, and to change ownership of Indian companies that currently invest in India. The change in investment rules is aimed at curbing “opportunistic acquisitions” during the outbreak. The new rules are clearly directed at China, given that India’s other neighbours are largely incapable of acquiring Indian companies.
Behind the sound of “boycott Chinese Products” (boycott of Chinese products), India wants to convey “Made in India”. On May 12th Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India needed to rely on self-reliance to encourage “Made in India” in the face of the outbreak. India has long encouraged the rise of local technology companies in the hope of “replicating” the success of Alibaba and Tencent in India.
Interestingly, many Indian users have uninstalled chinese apps but are struggling with the availability of no alternatives. The China Apps comment section has this line: “This app is great, but I want to know what I’m doing to get rid of these apps?” For example, many of us all use SHAREit to pass on files. If the developer can recommend some good apps, I’m sure i’ll give them five stars. “
In 2017, India’s Defense Ministry ordered the armed forces to uninstall 42 Chinese apps classified as “spyware.” These applications include UC Browser, UC News, SHAREit, and WeChat. China App may face more serious obstacles in India in the future, but not only in India, where resistance to national sentiment is sure to occur as China’s internationalization strategy advances. The China Remove Apps is not the beginning, nor is it the end.
Unlike in the industrial age, boycotting entities can have an impact on the industrial chain. In the internet age, boycotting an app doesn’t make much sense in itself. As the user says, once the user experience is created, you really can’t find a replacement quickly. For developers, the vast data and technology base built up behind an application is hard to replace.