Two days after India blocked 59 apps developed by Chinese firms, Google and Apple have started to comply with New Delhi’s order and are preventing users in the world’s second largest internet market from accessing those apps.
UC Browser, Shareit, and Club Factory and other apps that India has blocked are no longer listed on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store. In a statement, a Google spokesperson said that the company had “temporarily blocked access to the apps”on Google Play Store as it reviews New Delhi’s interim order.
Apple, which has taken a similar approach as Google in complying with New Delhi’s order, did not respond to a request for comment.
India’s Department of Telecommunications ordered telecom networks and other internet service providers earlier this week to block access to those 59 apps “effective immediately.” Websites of many of these apps have also become inaccessible in India.
Thursday’s move from Apple and Google, whose software power nearly every smartphone on the planet, is the latest escalation in an unprecedented tension in recent times between China and India.
A skirmish between the two neighbouring nations at a disputed Himalayan border site last month left 20 Indian soldiers dead, stoking historical tensions. Earlier this week, India blocked 59 Chinese apps including ByteDance’s TikTok citing national security concerns in a move that some saw as retaliation.
The 59 blocked apps that include Likee, Xiaomi’s Mi Community, and Tencent’s WeChat, had a combined monthly active user base of over 500 million users in India last month, according to mobile insights firm App Annie — data of which an industry executive shared with TechCrunch. (A significant number of smartphone users in India use several of these apps so there’s a lot of overlap.)
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