The 59 Chinese apps banned by the government have been taken down from Google Play Store and Apple App Store in India, blocking their access to mobile phone users in the country. The government had on Monday (June 29) banned 59 Chinese applications saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.
A day later popular short video app TikTok was taken down from Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The other 58 Chinese apps have now also been removed. Google said that it has temporarily blocked access to the banned apps on its India Play Store.
“While we continue to review the interim orders from the Government of India, we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India,” a Google spokesperson said.
However, the spokesperson did not disclose details of the apps that Google had blocked. Similar action has been taken by the Apple App Store, sources said. Chinese apps removed from Play Store and App Store include UC Browser, SHAREit, WeChat, CamScanner, and Mi Community. TikTok app has gone offline and stopped working completely for users in India. Meanwhile, TikTok spokesperson said the firm does not plan to take legal action against the government ban.
“We have no plans to pursue such action. We are committed to working with the government to address its concerns. We comply with the laws and regulations of the Government of India. Ensuring the data sovereignty, security and privacy of our users has always been and will continue to be a top priority for us,” the spokesperson said. According to sources, developers of many of the 59 banned apps had taken down their apps from Google Play Store voluntarily.
Meanwhile, in a statement, one of the banned apps Bigo Live said it has temporarily taken off the app from Google Play and App Store in India. “The Government of India issued an interim order on June 29, 2020, to block 59 mobile apps, including Bigo Live. We respect the Indian governments order and will temporarily take off Bigo Live from Google Play and App Store in India until there is further clarity provided on this matter,” it said.
According to the statement, Bigo Live is under Singapore-based Bigo Technology. “We hold utmost priority to the compliance of all local laws as well as the privacy and security of all our users. We will be working closely with the Indian government under the local legal framework.”
In a separate statement, Likee said it has temporarily taken off the platform from Google Play and Apple App store and has suspended its services in India. “We respect the Indian governments order and have temporarily taken off Likee from Google Play and App Store, and have suspended service in India until there is further clarity provided on this matter,” the company said.
To follow the government order, Likee said its R&D team worked around the clock to ensure the service shutdown. “Likee is under the Singapore-based BIGO Technology and we hold utmost priority to the compliance of all local laws as well as the privacy and data security of all our users. We will be working closely with the Indian government under the local legal framework,” it added.
Soon after the ban, TikTok stopped showing up in search results on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Some users searching for TikTok on Google Play ended up seeing some clone apps. The Apple App Store showed helper apps like VideoSplit for TikTok, but not the TikTok app itself.