Boycott China may take digital route – apps like TikTok in the line of fire

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Published: June 28, 2020 7:45 AM

India-China tension: Internet apps is one market where China can be put under a tighter scrutiny. For the record, there are about 500 million smart phone users in this country and of these, around 66% use at least one Chinese app.

Chinese app TikTok  is quite popular among the younger lot for making and posting short videos.

WITH TENSION AT the border and pressure mounting for some form of retaliation against Chinese products in
the domestic market,the government could zero down on Chinese internet apps. Sources said within the government
the thinking is that retaliation against Chinese products like mobile phones or components imported from that country, which are used across industrial segments, tend to hurt domestic producers who do not favour such moves in the immediate and short-term.

However, internet apps is one market where China can be put under a tighter scrutiny. For the record, there are about 500 million smart phone users in this country and of these, around 66% use at least one Chinese app. Chinese app TikTok,which is part of Chinese private company ByteDance, for instance, is quite popular among the younger lot for making and posting short videos. It has about 600 million downloads in India.

However, recently due to the border tension with China, its popularity has hit a low. To make it difficult for Chinese apps to gain popularity in the country, the government is thinking of making intermediary guidelines in such a manner where some storage of data becomes mandatory within the country.

Currently, TikTok does not have a server in India and the company says it stores data of Indian consumers in Singapore and not China. However, government sources believe that by flagging security concerns, the government can make it mandatory for some companies to store data within the country even, while providing flexibility to others in the internet apps space to continue to store data overseas.

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