However, here the banned apps keep resurfacing through different urls in an illegal manner and blocking them becomes a continuous exercise.
The government has banned 59 Chinese apps, which includes popular ones like WeChat, ShareIt, UC Browser, etc, amid border tensions with China citing national security and public order. While the due processes of law will be followed in banning them by allowing the concerned companies to present their case before the ministry of electronics and information technology (Meity), the domestic market is huge for these Chinese players and ban will surely hit them hard.
Analysts said that bans lead to removal of the apps from the play stores of Google and Apple’s iOS system. On the Internet they are blocked by the Internet service providers based on the urls given by the government. However, here the banned apps keep resurfacing through different urls in an illegal manner and blocking them becomes a continuous exercise.
For perspective: There are about 500 million smartphone users in the country and of this around 66% use at least one Chinese app. In that sense, the Indian market is important for these Chinese apps. Popular they are but still the stickiness is not such that users will miss them, meaning they are easily replaceable. The following are some of the popular Chinese apps:
TikTok: This is perhaps the most popular of the Chinese apps, especially amongst the younger population for making and sharing short videos. As per SensorTower, 30% of TikTok’s user base comes from India. According to a Kalagato report, TikTok has 35.8% reach with an average session time of 6 minutes and a total session time of 53 minutes.
Helo: It is a social networking platform developed by ByteDance, which also owns TikTok. A key feature leading to its popularity is its availability in several Indian languages. According to Kalagato, it has a 22.3% reach and is often ranked as the third most popular app after Facebook and Instagram.
ShareIt: This is a file sharing app which is quite popular as it allows users to easily share files between two devices. Its popularity can be gauged by the fact that it enables sharing of files between a phone and a computer.
Camscanner: This is a document and image scanning app and commands the top position amongst peers. It is also one of the most downloaded business productivity app in the country. The app has been developed by CC Intelligence Corporation and had come under scanner in 2019 as it was found to be having an advertising malware.
UC Browser: This is the second most used browsing channel in the country after Google Chrome, with a 13% share of the market. It has been developed by UCWeb, which is owned by Alibaba Group. It is popular in low-end phones because of its lite capabilities.
Bigo Live: It is a live streaming platform second only to TikTok in terms of views, reach and open rate.
WeChat: This is an instant messaging app with text, voice photo, video and location sharing.