TikTok goes offline in India, alert says ‘complying with government directive’

NITI Aayog CEO Says Apps Should Adhere to India's Data Integrity Privacy Sovereignty and Transparency

Kant NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant

It remains unclear, however, how the bans would work, with Indians who have downloaded TikTok on their phones still able to use the app on Tuesday.

"The Indian government has the responsibility to protect the legitimate rights and interests of worldwide investors in India, including Chinese businesses, in accordance with market principles", said spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

"India's measure, selectively and discriminatorily aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security exceptions, and suspects of violating the WTO rules", said embassy spokesperson Ji Rong. Chinese products are ubiquitous in India, from toys to smartphones to Made-in-China Hindu idols.

India shares United States unease about growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean and New Delhi has bolstered defence cooperation with Washington as well as Australia and Japan. The soldiers' deaths meant the Indian government had to hit back, Acharya said.

For China however, the ban could result in a substantial losses not only in terms of revenue but in terms of market reputation.

"They are earning from us and then bullying us", 30-year-old Sonu Mishra said in New Delhi.

Others bemoaned the potential loss of jobs at the app companies' Indian offices. Some slammed it as an encroachment on free speech.

For many others, opening TikTok app promoted an error message that said the popular app was complying with the Indian government's order and could no longer offer its service.

A TikTok India statement gave the impression that the ban was provisional and the IT Ministry has asked it to give "clarifications". So the size is very small and the Chinese companies, be it your smartphone vendors, companies in the startup space or the app space have a big presence in the India market today which can not be ignored.

He said the country has always asked Chinese firms to abide by global rules and local laws as they work with foreign parties, adding that China-India cooperation is mutually beneficial and damaging this is not in India's interest. It is expected to sponsor data localization legislation later this year.

China on Tuesday expressed strong concern over India's ban of Chinese mobile apps as tensions continue to escalate between the two Asian giants following their border clash at Ladakh a few weeks ago. For an example over 20 percent of TikTok's global users are based in India.

TikTok app has been installed about 2 billion times globally, according to mobile insights firm Sensor Tower.

Currently, the app does not load any new content for Indian users.

The Indian Ministry of Information Technology also revealed that it had received an "exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps" from both the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Echoing the Chinese foreign ministry's earlier remarks, Ji said that China expects India to acknowledge the "mutually beneficial nature of China-India economic and trade cooperation".

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