The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), in a communication to the apps last week, has said that their answers and clarifications following the ban were found to be inadequate. As a result, the temporary block has now been made permanent.
had banned 59 Chinese apps in June end last year referring to them as being ‘prejudicial’ to India’s sovereignty, integrity and national security. The list included TikTok, Helo, We Chat, Alibaba’s UC Browser and UC News, Shein, Club Factory, Likee, Bigo Live, Kwai, Clash of Kings and Cam Scanner besides others.
The apps were blocked under section 69A of the Information Technology Act and relevant provisions under IT rules 2009.
An official familiar with the matter said the decision to impose a permanent ban is aimed at the 59 apps for now.
On September 2, the government had
also banned 118 more apps and in November, it
blocked 43 new Chinese mobile apps in the country, including shopping website AliExpress. The list of banned Chinese apps so far also includes PUBG Mobile, Snack Video, Cam Card, WeWorkChina and WeDate.
As per media reports, following the ban, Alibaba-owned UC Browser had shut down its India office. Alibaba did not respond to an email seeking comments on the matter.
ET had reported previously despite being shut for usual operations last year, ByteDance, which had over 2000 employees in India had doled out cash bonuses going up in lakhs to its Indian employees, who were hopeful of being absorbed under a global deal.
In an email sent to employees in November last year, banned viral app TikTok’s country chief Nikhil Gandhi had said the company’s leadership strongly believes in the long-term potential of the India market and sees ‘immense growth opportunities’ for the short video platform in a bid to assuage employee concerns.
A TikTok spokesperson said the company is evaluating the notice and will respond to it as appropriate.
“TikTok was among the first companies to comply with the Government of India directive issued on June 29, 2020. We continually strive to comply with local laws and regulations and do our best to address any concerns the government may have. Ensuring the privacy and security of all our users remains to be our topmost priority,” the spokesperson added.