The Indian government has blocked another 43 more Chinese mobile apps as tensions between the neighboring powers continue to simmer following a border clash on June 15.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT has issued the order to block access to apps including Alibaba Workbench, AliExpress, Alipay Cashier, CamCard and WeDate based on reports received from the Home Ministry.
A government release stated, “This action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order”.
The new move is expected to adversely affect the Chinese e-commerce major Alibaba, which has a substantial stake in India. The Chinese group has imposed a temporary freeze on investment in Indian startups after the worsening of ties between the two countries. Since 2015, it has invested more than $2 billion in Indian startups, which include food delivery startup Zomato, grocery delivery startup BigBasket and e-commerce firm Snapdeal.
On June 29, the government blocked access to 59 mobile apps under section 69A of the Information Technology Act, which included TikTok, WeChat, Weibo and others. Then on September 2 it banned another 118 apps under the same law and this time it included PubG, Baidu and others.
Ever since the armies of the two countries clashed near the Ladakh region, leading to the deaths of 20 Indian troops, India has been trying to curtail its economic engagement with Chinese companies. It has restricted the import of non-essential items from China and imposed curbs on the import of television and solar cells and levied an anti-dumping duty on a host of goods.
India’s handset market was dominated by Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Oppo, but of late they are facing supply-side constraints due to stringent scrutiny of their shipments by Indian authorities and the general anti-China sentiment among the populace. This is proving advantageous to the South Korean giant Samsung, whose market share is steadily on the rise.
Even before the border clash the government had imposed curbs on investments in domestic companies by firms from countries that share a land border with India. They can now invest only after getting the government’s approval. The move was to prevent opportunistic takeovers as the Covid-19 outbreak had taken a toll on their valuations.