TikTok goes down in India, its biggest overseas market

TikTok Ban: Creators Asking Users to Follow Them on Instagram, YouTube

TikTok Ban: Creators Asking Users to Follow Them on Instagram, YouTube

It cited privacy concerns that it said pose a threat to India's sovereignty and security.

India's decision to ban dozens of Chinese apps is bound to have repercussions affecting India itself, as well as China; technology experts say. "For the time being the users who have been using these apps may be able to use them but it's just a matter of days, before a total blockage happens", the cyber security expert added.

"The Indian government has the responsibility to protect the legitimate rights and interests of global investors in India, including Chinese businesses, in accordance with market principles", said spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

A few hours later, the Chinese embassy in New Delhi issued a longer, detailed statement.

"India's measure, selectively and discriminatorily aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security exceptions, and suspects of violating the WTO rules", said embassy spokesperson Ji Rong.

India is the biggest driver of the TikTok app and the ban is expected to be a big stumbling block for its owner Bytedance, which had plans to invest $1 billion in the country.

Border tensions between the two countries have existed for over seven decades.

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A TikTok India statement gave the impression that the ban was provisional and the IT Ministry has asked it to give "clarifications". It is expected to sponsor data localization legislation later this year.

TikTok app has been installed about 2 billion times globally, according to mobile insights firm Sensor Tower.

Bytedance also operates the now-banned Helo social networking app, which was created for the Indian market and has over 50 million users.

India's Minister for Electronics and Information Technology and Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the step was taken for "safety, security, defence, sovereignty and integrity of India". "Now that India has banned these applications, their parent Chinese companies are bound to lose a large portion of their subscribers directly and indirectly, this would in-turn upset their investors and stake holders", Jhaker added.

The Karakoram clash fanned already growing anti-Chinese sentiment amid the coronavirus pandemic, which emerged in China in December. In response to the crisis, a movement has emerged to promote India as an alternative to China for Western markets and to shun Chinese goods. India accounted for 611 million of those downloads, the firm said.

India has also been irked by China's backing of arch-rival Pakistan and the construction of an economic corridor going through parts of Kashmir controlled by Islamabad but claimed by India.

Chinese electronic firms also have a major presence in India, with cellphone brands like Xiaomi - which manufactures in India - enjoying a market share of nearly 65 percent.

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