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1. India has drawn up a list of 275 Chinese apps that it will examine for any violation of national security and user privacy, signalling heightened scrutiny and the possibility of more Chinese internet companies being banned in the country, according to people aware of the developments.
2. This follows the high-profile ban of 59 Chinese apps last month, including short video app TikTok, amid simmering geopolitical tensions between the two Asian giants.
3. The list, reviewed by ET, includes gaming app PubG backed by China’s most valuable internet major Tencent, Zili by phone maker Xiaomi, AliExpress by eCommerce giant Alibaba as well as apps like Resso and ULike from TikTok-owner ByteDance.
“The government may ban all, some or none from the list,” said one person cited above.
4. This is in addition to examining the alleged flow of data from these apps to China that poses a threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, according to officials who pointed to what they termed as China’s data-sharing norm that requires companies of Chinese-origin to share data with the home country, irrespective of where they operate.
5. Chinese Internet companies have about 300 million unique users in India, indicating that nearly two-thirds of smartphone users in the country have downloaded a Chinese app, according to industry estimates.
6. Among the Chinese apps being scrutinised now are 14 MI apps by Xiaomi as well as lesser-known ones such as Capcut and FaceU. Apps from other Chinese internet and tech majors like Meitu, LBE Tech, Perfect Corp, Sina Corp, Netease Games, Yoozoo Global are also present.
7. list are companies such as Helsinki-based Supercell that have investments by Chinese technology companies. Tencent bought a majority stake in the gaming company last year.
Another senior government official told ET that the government is looking to formalise a process for such bans and the concerned ministry has been asked to frame a law or circular or some form of regulation for constant scrutiny of the apps operating in India. “A set of rules or defined procedures may take time but is the correct process to go about it in the future,” the person said.