The Indian government’s decision to ban the use of 59 Chinese mobile apps, including TikTok, WeChat and UC, in the country has sparked ongoing debate. Chinese companies have been stepping up efforts in recent years to tap into India’s digital market, and Chinese apps are already ubiquitous on Indian smartphones, the US media said on July 1. Indian media have also confirmed that many Indians were caught off guard by the government’s sudden ban.
Indian internet celebrities are most affected
Shamim, an Indian living in China, received a WeChat voice call from his parents in India on Monday night after the Indian government issued a ban on Chinese applications. Fortunately, the telephone is available, WeChat can still be used in India. “But I’m worried about how I can contact my family if Indian users can’t use WeChat in the near future.” Shamim told the Global Times on July 1st that because Chinese apps are so popular in India, the new ban will deprive many Indians who make a living from them of their sources of work and life, with the biggest impact being Indian internet celebrities on TikTok.
TikTok and Helo are both apps launched by China’s Byte Dance. Chinese mobile apps have a large market share in India, and some have even cultivated a group of “dead-end” local users with a fairly used habit, Reuters said. India’s ban on Chinese apps, the first to feel uncomfortable may be them.
The government’s sudden ban has caught many traffic stars active on the TikTok platform off guard, the Times of India reported. A number of anchors with large fans on TikTok broadcast the platform and called on fans to follow their accounts on other platforms immediately after learning that the platform would be banned by the government. For example, Kumar, an internet celebrity who has used the old-school Bollywood song and dance in the TikTok circle, says TikTok has witnessed his “artistic miracle” and fears that even after TikTok’s ban, he won’t be able to gain such high attention and popularity. Global Times reporter in India 1 found that TikTok has now been from Apple and Google mobile app merchandise off the shelf, and can not land.
In a statement tuesday, the Chinese embassy in India responded by saying the ban affected not only the employment of local Indian employees supporting the applications, but also the interests of Indian users and the employment and livelihoods of many creators and entrepreneurs.
Public information shows that ByteDance alone has employed more than 2,000 full-time local employees in India. “The Indian government’s ban is a man-made crisis, especially after the new crown outbreak, when the Indian economy itself is going downhill and a lot of jobs are already being lost,” shamim said.
Long Xingchun, executive director of Chengdu WorldWide Research Institute, told the Global Times on the 1st that the 59 banned Chinese applications, India also have the same paragraph, but done worse. The gap left by the forced withdrawal of Chinese companies could be occupied by Japanese and American companies. In the long run, Mr Long said, India’s technical services could not keep up, reducing the level of service in india’s mobile phone applications. “The result of protectionism is backwardness, and India’s manufacturing and retail protectionism is serious, resulting in low competitiveness in India’s services and manufacturing sectors, which ultimately harms India’s development and consumer interests”.
Insiders: Byte Dance loses more than $6 billion
Media analysis said that the ban, Byte Dance is the most vulnerable. According to Market Research Group, India’s top 10 mobile apps were still dominated by apps issued by U.S. companies in 2015, but by 2019 Chinese-owned apps will account for half of the top 10.
TikTok said in a statement that it was “cooperating with the completion of the Indian government’s blocking requirements” and said TikTok would continue to protect the privacy of citizens’ data in accordance with local regulations. ByteDance, which has invested more than $1bn in India over the past few years, is now almost entirely sold out of the Indian market, causing losses of more than $6bn, according to people close to ByteDance. He said the amount was likely to exceed the sum of all the losses of all the remaining prohibited companies.
Modi cancels Twitter account
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to quit Chinese microblogging and cancel his Weibo account after India imposed a ban on 59 Chinese apps, including microblogging, according to Indian media on July 1. Local mainstream media, such as the Times of India, believe the government’s ban will be a major blow to Chinese internet companies with “global development ambitions” and a direct threat to China’s growth into one of the world’s top technology giants. The head of an Indian company said the “biggest danger is that the rest of the world is following India’s example”. Indian authorities are understood to be asking e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart to mark their products with information such as country of origin, and there is speculation that more Goods and Services related to China will be boycotted in India in the near future.
Long believes that India itself has a protectionist tradition, not only for China, but also for Amazon, Facebook and Twitter in the United States. He says India has a large population but relatively low purchasing power. Despite the heavy traffic, the profits made by Chinese companies in the region are not high, and they have a huge impact on the global expansion of Chinese companies. Instead, it will spur Chinese companies to do more in other parts of the world.
Liu Xiaoxue, an associate researcher at the Institute of Asia-Pacific and Global Strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday that India’s move was a “double loss situation”. India’s economy is in trouble, and employment is in trouble. In this context, investment, job creation and economic growth are essential. But now that Chinese investors are resisting Chinese products and investments, Chinese investors will be cautious in the future. China can afford this double loss, and India may not be able to.