Hundreds of Chinese apps banned by India: What effect will the ban have?

India has banned another 118 Chinese mobile applications, includes PUBG Mobile, PUBG Lite, WeChat Work and Ludo All Star, after troops from the two countries clashed once again along their Himalayan border. But, what effect will the ban have?
September 03, 2020 | 22:49
india bans 118 more mobile apps amidst fresh border tensions with china India bans 118 more mobile apps amidst fresh border tensions with China
china claims india disturbing border peace after its military camps captured China claims India disturbing border peace after its military camps captured
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What're 118 Chinese apps banned by India
The Indian government banned a fresh set of Chinese apps, including the popular gaming app, PUBG, in the country. Source: Nikkei Asian Review

The Indian government announced the decision on September 2 and said the 118 Chinese apps were a danger to national security and the sovereignty of the country's cyberspace.

It said it had received complaints from multiple sources about Chinese mobile apps being used to steal users' information for servers outside of India.

It added, "The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures."

Among the newly banned apps was Tencent Holdings' popular video game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), which has more than 50 million users in India. Meanwhile, Baidu, Alipay, and different versions of the messaging app WeChat were also on the list, according to The New York Times.

People in the startup ecosystem are now bracing for a new reality where Chinese apps and investments will be frowned upon.

“Even though the primary reason given by the government is data security concerns, the clear message is that war and business can’t happen simultaneously," said Atul Pandey, partner at law firm Khaitan & Co., cited from an article from

“After the first wave of bans, Chinese investors were approaching Indian startups, lawyers were suggesting options, and founders were told to delay plans by a few months, if the plans involved China,” said a startup founder.

“Now we are not saying delay plans. Now it is, make a new plan. This looks like it is going to stay,” he said. The startup founder has liaised with Chinese investors over the past year.

What're 118 Chinese apps banned by India
India has banned 118 more apps, sparing not even the smaller ones.

224 apps banned so far

This was not the first time Chinese apps were banned by India. In June, following a bloody melee that led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers, the Indian government announced that it would ban 59 Chinese mobile apps, including video-making startup TikTok, WeChat, UC Browser, and Cam Scanner, for security reasons, reported Liberty Times.

Soon after that, it banned another 47. Over 275 Chinese apps had been under scrutiny for alleged violation of national security and citizens' privacy, out of which 224 have now been banned.

Now that Chinese apps seem to be away from India for the long run, more investors plan to flock to startups to replace the banned apps. Venture capitalists will be one of the most affected by the long-term shift as investors look for large trends to place bets on, not momentary shifts in behaviour.

Effect of the ban?

“It is still a soft indicator to China. In reality, we cannot survive without dependency on China. Notably, while apps have been banned and FDI has been restricted, there is no restriction on investments in stock markets or on imports from China," said Karan Kalra, founder of law firm Bombay Law Chambers.

“The rationale that user data from the banned apps is a national security concern seems somewhat excessive, and, in my view, limiting access to a common man’s data is likely to only have a commercial impact," said Kalra.

Security concerns could arise if data from phones of government officials were being accessed by foreign governments, he said.

“Sadly, while there is a popular belief that we are hurting their economy by banning these apps, limiting access to technology and global funds, in the overall scheme of things only hurts our own startup community," he said.

The move could even have potential legal ramifications, given that the ban has been imposed without prior notice.

“The same may possibly be challenged as a violation of the principles of natural justice. Given the massive employment opportunities some of these apps had provided in India, as well as the steps being taken by these apps to plug in their vulnerabilities and ensure data localisation in India, it would be interesting to see how the courts view such an action by the government ," said Pandey.

Apps in segments which are easy to replicate, such as productivity and utility apps, will see an immediate boost, given that they are easier to build and replicate.

However, something like Tencent’s PUBG will be difficult to replicate, and will take a longer time to substitute. Existing Indian games with a similar experience, sometimes ranking far lower on app stores, are also likely to see a spurt overnight to the top rankings.

India-China tension

Although India did not directly link the new measures to its ongoing border standoff with Beijing, international experts have considered the ban to be an act of retaliation against the East Asian power by placing pressure on its technology companies.

Earlier this week, a Tibetan soldier in India's special forces was also killed by a Chinese land mine, although no confirmation has been made by the Indian army so far, according to Reuters.

Tension along the India-China border first surfaced in Ladakh's Galwan Valley on June 15, 2020, when 20 Indian security personnel were killed after a clash between the troops of both sides.

Many rounds of discussion were held at the military and diplomatic levels to restore peace after that.

Here is a full list of the apps that have been banned:

APUS Launcher Pro- Theme, Live Wallpapers, Smart

APUS Launcher -Theme, Call Show, Wallpaper, HideApps

APUS Security -Antivirus, Phone security, Cleaner

APUS Turbo Cleaner 2020- Junk Cleaner, Anti-Virus

APUS Flashlight-Free & Bright

Cut Cut – Cut Out & Photo Background Editor


Baidu Express Edition

FaceU - Inspire your Beauty

ShareSave by Xiaomi: Latest gadgets, amazing deals

CamCard - Business Card Reader

CamCard Business

CamCard for Salesforce



VooV Meeting - Tencent Video Conferencing

Super Clean - Master of Cleaner, Phone Booster

WeChat reading

Government WeChat

Small Q brush

Tencent Weiyun


WeChat Work

Cyber Hunter

Cyber Hunter Lite

Knives Out-No rules, just fight!

Super Mecha Champions


Dawn of Isles

Ludo World-Ludo Superstar

Chess Rush

PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik


Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade

Art of Conquest: Dark Horizon

Dank Tanks


Game of Sultans

Gallery Vault - Hide Pictures And Videos

Smart AppLock (App Protect)

Message Lock (SMS Lock)-Gallery Vault Developer Team

Hide App-Hide Application Icon


AppLock Lite

Dual Space - Multiple Accounts & App Cloner

ZAKZAK Pro - Live chat & video chat online

ZAKZAK LIVE: live-streaming & video chat app

Music - Mp3 Player

Music Player - Audio Player & 10 Bands Equalizer

HD Camera Selfie Beauty Camera

Cleaner - Phone Booster

Web Browser & Fast Explorer

Video Player All Format for Android

Photo Gallery HD & Editor

Photo Gallery & Album

Music Player - Bass Booster - Free Download

HD Camera - Beauty Cam with Filters & Panorama

HD Camera Pro & Selfie Camera

Music Player - MP3 Player & 10 Bands Equalizer

Gallery HD

Web Browser - Fast, Privacy & Light Web Explorer

Web Browser - Secure Explorer

Music player - Audio Player

Video Player - All Format HD Video Player

Lamour Love All Over The World

Amour- video chat & call all over the world.

MV Master - Make Your Status Video & Community

MV Master - Best Video Maker & Photo Video Editor

APUS Message Center-Intelligent management

LivU Meet new people & Video chat with strangers

Carrom Friends : Carrom Board & Pool Game-

Ludo All Star- Play Online Ludo Game & Board Games

Bike Racing : Moto Traffic Rider Bike Racing Games

Rangers Of Oblivion : Online Action MMO RPG Game

Z Camera - Photo Editor, Beauty Selfie, Collage

GO SMS Pro - Messenger, Free Themes, Emoji

U-Dictionary: Oxford Dictionary Free Now Translate

Ulike - Define your selfie in trendy style

Tantan - Date For Real

MICO Chat: New Friends Banaen aur Live Chat karen

Kitty Live - Live Streaming & Video Live Chat

Malay Social Dating App to Date & Meet Singles



Mobile Taobao


Road of Kings- Endless Glory

Sina News

Netease News

Penguin FM

Murderous Pursuits

Tencent Watchlist (Tencent Technology)

Learn Chinese AI-Super Chinese

HUYA LIVE – Game Live Stream

Little Q Album

Fighting Landlords - Free and happy Fighting Landlords

Hi Meitu

Mobile Legends: Pocket

VPN for TikTok

VPN for TikTok

Penguin E-sports Live assistant

Buy Cars-offer everything you need, special offers and low prices


Beauty Camera Plus - Sweet Camera & Face Selfie

Parallel Space Lite - Dual App

"Chief Almighty: First Thunder BC

MARVEL Super War NetEase Games

AFK Arena

Creative Destruction NetEase Games

Crusaders of Light NetEase Games

Mafia City Yotta Games

Onmyoji NetEase Games

Ride Out Heroes NetEase Games

Yimeng Jianghu-Chu Liuxiang has been fully upgraded

Legend: Rising Empire NetEase Games

Arena of Valor: 5v5 Arena Games

Soul HuntersRules of Survival

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