Reacting to the ban on TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps by India, China Tuesday said the move “selectively and discriminatorily” aims at certain apps on “ambiguous and far-fetched grounds” and was in violation of international trade rules.
Amid the tense border standoff with China in Ladakh, the government on Monday banned 59 Chinese apps, including Tik Tok, based on information that they were engaged in activities “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity”, defence, security and public order.
The spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India, Ji Rong, said the move went against the general trend of international trade and e-commerce and was not conducive to consumer interests and the market competition in India.
“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 WTO rules,” he said.
Rong said the deleted apps had a large user base in India and they had been “operating strictly in accordance with Indian laws and regulations” and provide “efficient and fast services for Indian consumers, creators and entrepreneurs”.
“The ban will affect not only the employment of local Indian workers who support these apps but also the interests of Indian users and the employment and livelihoods of many creators and entrepreneurs,” he said.
Citing the extent of India-China trade, Rong urged the Indian government to change its “discriminatory practices” considering the overall interests of two sides.
“We expect India acknowledges the mutually beneficial nature of China-India economic and trade cooperation, and urge the Indian side to change its discriminatory practices, maintain the momentum of China-India economic and trade cooperation, treat all investments and service providers equally, and create an open, fair and just business environment while bearing in mind the fundamental interests of both sides and the overall interests of bilateral relations,” he said.
Banning 59 mobile apps that have Chinese overhang is both a statement of intent and a strong signal. This may not hurt India given the alternatives in the app space but for China, the Indian app market is growing and valuable.
The move is seen as a retaliatory step amid the tense border standoff between India and China that led to 20 Indian Army personnel being killed on June 15. State-owned telecom companies have since moved to keep Chinese vendors out of their network on upgrading tenders.
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