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TikTok, WeChat, and a total of 59 apps from Chinese companies have been permanently banned in India by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) according to reports. These apps were banned by the government in June 2020, and now, reports quoting sources say that the ban for these apps is permanent now.
In an earlier conversation, sources had told Gadgets 360 that following the ban, the government had asked for responses from all the companies that were banned about the data being collected, and how it was used. It appears that the government was not satisfied with the response, and issued a notice last week, according to reports.
This does not bode well for the other apps which were banned over the course of 2020 — over 200 by the end of the year. Some, such as the hugely popular smartphone game PUBG Mobile had attempted to remedy the situation by launching a new, India-only version, PUBG Mobile India which was announced in November, after hiring new staff in India. However, later responses to RTIs showed that MeitY had given no permission to the relaunch.
With this latest development, it looks unlikely that the game will be making a comeback in India very soon. It's also unclear what this announcement means got the hundreds of people employed by ByteDance (Tiktok's parent company) in India — sources had told Gadgets 360 that the team in India was retained after the ban, and was participating in global operations. With India now seeing a permanent ban, will the company continue to proceed in this fashion?
As of now, the company is issuing the following statement to reporters:
“We are 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,” a TikTok spokesperson told Mint.
Should the government explain why Chinese apps were banned? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.