TikTok distances from Beijing in response to app ban in India

Clay Curtis
July 7, 2020

The Indian government announced Monday it would ban 59 apps developed by Chinese firms, citing national security and privacy concerns. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity.

TikTok's countermove, shifting data to Ireland, shows how integrated the two economies have become. Two-way trade grew from $3 billion in 2000 to $95 billion in 2018, according to Indian government data, with the balance strongly favoring China.

The India China face-off on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), precisely at the Galwan valley in Ladakh on 15th and 16th June has been a stimulus to anti-China sentiment for the Indian population. Some slammed it as an encroachment on free speech.

The app has exploded in popularity in the United States and other western countries since it launched in 2016, becoming the first Chinese social media platform to gain traction with users outside of its home country.

The ByteDance apps banned were its short video platforms TikTok and Vigo Video, as well as its social networking app Helo. It is expected to sponsor data localization legislation later this year.

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All the 59 apps have now been removed from Apple Inc. and Google LLC's app stores for the Indian market.

The ban, which upset India's growing legion of TikTok stars, has also given a lift to local rivals such as Roposo, which added 22 million new users in the 48 hours after the ban took effect. The list also includes names like Alibaba's AliExpress, Baidu's Map, Tencent's WeChat etc.

Meanwhile, China's commerce ministry said that China has not "adopted any restrictive and discriminatory measures against Indian products and services".

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing that India has a responsibility to uphold the rights of Chinese businesses. India is the fourth worst affected, with almost 570,000 cases and more than 16,000 deaths.

TikTok's announcement comes afterUStech companies Facebook, Twitter and Google said they would stop processing Hong Kong government requests for user data while they carry out an assessment of the new law.

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