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Can government’s move find global takers and domestic tech makers?


Indian government’s decision to ban 59 Chinese apps including the popular TikTok opens a new front in the economic retaliation measures against Chinese aggression at the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh. The government’s charge of national security threat and data security violations has left many people asking the question if Indian apps with significant Chinese investment could also come under scrutiny. TikTok’s popularity had earlier prompted the Madras high court to impose an interim ban on the app citing perverse influences on children.

But the real salutary effect of the action against 59 Chinese apps will stem from other countries reeling from Chinese hostility also replicating the Indian action. To turn the Indian government move into a global movement against Chinese technology, with their suspicious linkages to the Chinese government and security establishment, India will have to express greater solidarity with such countries. The Chinese moves on South China Sea, tough line on Australia for demanding an investigation into the coronavirus’s origins, and gaming of world trade gives some traction for any Indian action to find global takers.

It is also important for Indian smartphone apps to step forward to fill the breach. Despite boasting a huge app developer community, Indian startups have failed to develop domestic social media platforms leaving domestic users with no option but to depend on US or Chinese services. Mandating the localisation of data is an attempt to compensate for this shortcoming, but the real economic opportunities lie in creating a vibrant domestic tech industry for a potential global audience.

Read also: TikTok removed from Apple, Google stores



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